Sept. 18 started out as another ordinary day but ended with the tragic news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) had passed away at the age of 87. RBG was the second woman in history to serve on the Supreme Court, following in the footsteps of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
RBG dedicated her life to breaking down gender barriers and ridding the country of gender-based stereotyping. Her dying wish was not to be replaced until after the 2020 election. This wish should have been honored.
On Feb. 13, 2016, almost nine months before the presidential election, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. President Obama nominated Justice Merrick Garland to replace Scalia on March 16 of that year. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell insisted on waiting until after the election, almost eight months away, to consider Scalia’s replacement, claiming that this action was “justified by history.”
The Republican majority in the Senate refused to even hold hearings following Garland’s nomination. After President Donald Trump was elected, he nominated Neil Gorsuch to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court.
Now, with RBG dying less than two months before the election, Republicans insisted on pushing through a Supreme Court nominee to replace her as fast as they could. Not even two weeks after RBG’s passing, Trump nominated federal judge and Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
News outlets have widely reported that Barrett is connected to “People of Praise,” a conservative Christian group that believes in “prophecy, speaking in tongues and divine healings,” according to The New York Times. The group subjugates women and advocates for a patriarchal society. According to Rolling Stone, a married woman in People of Praise is “expected always to reflect the fact that she is under her husband’s authority.”
Barrett is President Trump’s third nominee to the court. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced her nomination to the full Senate, despite Democrats boycotting the vote with cardboard cutouts in their seats. Now that she has been confirmed by the Senate Republicans and sworn in by President Trump, conservatives have a six-justice majority on the nine-justice court. Roe v. Wade, which Barrett has criticized in the past, Marriage Equality and the Affordable Care Act could all be in jeopardy with a court skewing so far to the right.
Ginsburg’s passing should have been honored at this time, especially considering the close proximity of the 2020 election. RBG dedicated her life to ensuring that women – and other marginalized groups – had equal rights and opportunities in society. After all she has done for our country, it was only fair that her dying wish be granted. We applaud her legacy and must not let her work be undone.