Friday, September 18th is a day the United States will collectively remember in the catastrophe that is 2020. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away to pancreatic cancer which she had been fighting for years.
Throughout her life, Ginsburg has pioneered for the rights of women as an attorney, as a mother, and as a supreme court justice. Her valiant efforts and progressive policies have paved the way for women to flourish in society, as homeowners, as mothers, and as working women.
A Somber Time
Ginsburg was first diagnosed with colon cancer over 20 years ago and beat it. She then had bouts of colon and lung cancer in the past 10 years that she again successfully beat.
Despite her iconic workouts with a personal trainer in the Supreme Court gym, Ginsburg began to slow down. Last year, they found a malignancy on her pancreas that would, unfortunately, lead to her passing this month.
There has been an outpour of condolences from politicians and celebrities alike.
Firstly, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said that Justice Ginsburg had been “an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights, and will be remembered as one of the great justices in modern American history.”
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, commented that “With an incomparable and indelible legacy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will forever be known as a woman of brilliance, a Justice of courage, and a human of deep conviction. She has been a true inspiration to me since I was a girl. Honor her, remember her, act for her.”
Actress Felicity Jones, who played Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 2018 movie On the Basis of Sex, affirmed that “Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave us hope, a public figure who stood for integrity and justice — a responsibility she did not wear lightly.”
In addition, Jones continued, “She will be missed not only as a beacon of light in these difficult times but for her razor-sharp wit and extraordinary humanity. She taught us all so much. I will miss her deeply.”
Politics is Always Involved
RBG’s death has understandably resulted in a wave of shock and despair throughout the country. Many people have taken this moment to emphasize the terrible loss and also inform us of what it may mean politically.
Former President Obama made a statement, urging the Senate to follow “the instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored.” RBG expressly did not want Trump to fill her seat.
Also, President Obama offered that, “Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us.”
Amid all of the famous people who are spoken out for RBG, large crowds held vigils all over the country this past weekend. On Tiktok, people have made thousands of videos, the hashtag #rbg has amassed over 80 million views.
People of all ages have expressed their grief about losing such a feminist beacon in politics and the fear of what lies ahead if the GOP takes hold of the Supreme Court.
The Road Ahead…
Despite her wishes to ‘not be replaced until a new president is installed,’ the current president is trying to replace her seat as quickly as he can.
GOP Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell has indicated this year “if a seat were to open up he would fill it.” Probably due to fear that Trump will be voted out this November, the GOP is rushing to create a majority conservative supreme court.
In 2016, McConnell and the rest of the GOP senate blocked President Obama when he nominated Merrick Garland claiming it was due to the election year.
Despite RBG’s desire to wait until after the 2020 election to have her seat filled, Trump has officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett.
Barrett is a religious conservative Federal Appeals Court Judge who said if confirmed she would vote to overturn 1973 Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade is the decision that legalizes abortion nationwide. Barrett also affirmed she would seek to get rid of the Affordable Cares Act which guarantees low or no-cost health insurance.
Beyond taking away the choice of what to do with your body, Barrett is also a part of a society called ‘People of Praise.’ It is an ultra-conservative Christian group founded in 1971. It is also one of the inspirations for Margaret Atwood’s wildly successful dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Handmaid’s Tale tells the story of a totalitarian state called Gilead in which women are subjugated and enslaved as breeders. The story starts off with the overthrow of the U.S. government by a quasi- Christian group using their propaganda to start a revolution. Sound familiar?
While we are mourning the death of an amazing champion for women, we must also keep in mind the power we have as citizens to uphold her legacy. We need to vote to protect the civil liberties she worked all of her career for.
If you are a New York Gal and eligible to vote, please register to vote as your voice deserves to be heard and not silenced.