Notorious RBG

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a significant loss to the American people. Without her presence on the Supreme Court, will her vision for the country be accomplished?

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Charles Dharapak

America mourns the loss of one of the most exceptional justices ever on the Supreme Court.

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Her name alone evokes a sense of power and strength in the American people. The seeds she’s left behind are bound to sprout into new, progressive ideas to move the country forward. Her death is a remarkable loss, but her fights will never be forgotten.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Her firm stances were made apparent by the beginning of her career as a Supreme Court Justice. Some of her most famous cases were:

United States vs. Virginia: The Virginia Military Institute was one of the United States’s first state military colleges, and it had an only-male policy. The Court proclaimed with a 7 to 1 vote that the only-male policy was discriminatory. On this case, Justice Ginsburg wrote, there is no reason to believe that the admission of women capable of all the activities required of VMI cadets would destroy the Institute rather than enhance its capacity to serve the ‘more perfect Union.”

Olmstead vs. LC: This was a civil rights case in regards to those with mental disabilities. It was held in a time where America was riddled with mental health asylums, institutions where people would often be poorly treated and abused. The Supreme Court proclaimed that, “People with disabilities have a qualified right to receive state funded supports and services in the community rather than institutions.”  

“Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition.””

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Obergefell vs. Hodges: Same-sex marriage may seem like it has existed forever to those on the outside looking in, but this legendary case was the one that declared same-sex marriage legal in the US in 2015. When other justices worried about changing the law in this way, Ginsburg said, Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition.” Justice Ginsburg will forever be remembered in the hearts of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sessions vs. Dimaya: In this case the Supreme Court struck down a law 5 to 4 which would allow the government to deport certain immigrants who committed serious crimes, calling the law “unconstitutionally vague.” The case regarded a Filipino man, James Dimaya, who entered the country legally but had two convictions of felony. The ruling protected his ability to stay in the United States, along with many others like him.

These accomplishments and many more are just a sliver of what Justice Ginsburg has done for the country. Her ideals and thinking are valued all across America. However, her passing leaves a hole in the Supreme Court which can not be filled by just anyone.

Ginsburg was not just idolized for her decisions. She gave support to progressive causes many would consider immoral or ahead of its time. The timing of her death poses a difficult question, should she be immediately replaced or should that decision be postponed until after the election? Ginsburg made her opinion clear on her deathbed, where she asked not to be replaced until a new president was to be elected. This would ensure a higher chance that her successor would carry on her beliefs.

This wish was quickly ignored by the president, who claimed that this was not Ginsburg’s decision to make. This stirred up much controversy regarding the President’s choice. While many Democrats urge to wait until the election, many Republicans agree with the idea of immediately replacing Ginsburg. 

However, the same situation came up in early 2016, in which conservatives pushed against promptly nominating a new justice, for there was Democratic president in office at the time. One claim that has been made widely popular after Ginsburg’s death was stated by Senator Lindsey Graham. 

In 2016, Senator Graham said, “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”

Now, he is in firm support of the president going through with replacing Justice Ginsburg highlighting the bitter hypocrisy riddling America’s politics. Despite the debate surrounding the decision, President Trump went through with nominating a new justice to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. To many, the decision is heralded as brilliant, but to others, it is misled. 

At first glance, Barrett may be the perfect replacement for Ginsburg, purely because she is a woman. This type of thinking is misinformed. The next justice’s gender does not outweigh the kinds of decisions they would make on behalf of the country.

Barrett’s addition also shifts the power on the Supreme Court. What once used to be liberal majority is now an advantage to the GOP. This opens the door for more conservative changes in the country. Some of these changes may close the doors once opened by the Democratic majority court.

One prime argument against Barrett is her views on abortion. Before President Trump even decided on a single person, he claimed his nominee would most definitely be pro-life, and Barrett is in line with these values. She called abortion, “always immoral”, and in many of her past cases regarding abortion access, she favored banning or tightly regulating it. Many conservatives are looking to her to help overturn or restrict Roe vs. Wade.

No matter what happens with the new justice, it is up to the American people to carry on Ginsburg’s legacy. Her flame will not die with her, and her name will be emblazoned on every history book forthcoming.”

Her views on abortion are not the only ones bothering the Democratic party. She also defended those in opposition of Obergefell vs. Hodges, causing distress amongst the LGBTQ+ community about their rights. Additionally, in a previous case in her career, she wrote a dissent against gun restriction using outdated evidence to support her.

From her past cases, it is fairly possible to conclude that Amy Coney Barrett’s time on the Supreme Court will be nothing like Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s. Her impact, however, may be just as far-reaching, for better or for worse.

No matter what happens with the new justice, it is up to the American people to carry on Ginsburg’s legacy. Her flame will not die with her, and her name will be emblazoned on every history book forthcoming.

The legendary RBG.

A force to be reckoned with.