Updated: Nov 1, 2020
Implications of the Future in a Crumbling Democracy
By Seamus Bozeman & Samantha Simmons
Image via LAist
Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a pioneer in upholding the constitution, defending human rights, and breaking through multiple glass ceilings, serving as only the second woman in a Supreme Court Justice seat. Her death poses many ramifications for the future and deepens the constitutional crisis the U.S. faces. Her replacement could very well change the United States forever, and it's essential to fill that seat with someone who can uphold it with justice and will continue to fight to sustain the freedoms, the dismantling of the patriarchy, the equalities, and the rights women and other marginalized groups have fought so long to gain.
The future without the dissenting opinions, landmark decisions, and votes of Ruth Bader Ginsberg are bleak. The Republican-controlled Senate is another indestructible roadblock that will completely ignore the hypocrisy of their actions in 2016 when they blocked a Supreme Court nominee of Obama, citing the fact that the people should choose their next president to fill the empty seat. Unfortunately, the new president was Trump; he ended up selecting Neil Gorsuch to replace Scalia, though that was a small difference as both had very similar conservative views. Trump later replaced retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh.
The case was different with Ginsberg, as there were multiple calls for her to step down so Obama could choose her successor, but Ginsberg defied those demands, feeling optimistic that the election of a Democrat was sealed. But international intervention and the rise of the new republican fueled an unforeseen Trump victory.
Two key senators who have said that they will withhold their votes on a new Supreme Court Justice is Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), which is a surprise as both voted in both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. This move is most likely trying to save face, as both are up against tough races in their respective home states. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has made a decision that has broken senate ties, which gives the Republicans and Senate leader Mitch McConnell the vote needed to move forward despite the fact that there is an ongoing Election. As of the end of September, no timeline has been confirmed, but confirmation hearings will likely take place on October 12th, and Amy Coney Barrett will likely sit on the Supreme Court before the election.
The Democrats are left with few options to prevent the Supreme Court Nomination prior to the Election. One is ‘shaming the Republicans’ for their hypocritical behavior, taking this as an opportunity to take a Center-Right majority in the court, which some incorrectly say ‘represents the United States as the Democratic Republic.’
Another is if a senator opposes a single condition of ‘unanimous consent’ which basically could prevent the confirmation vote from proceeding, till after January 3rd, 2021, which is the last day that Congress is in session before there is a possibility of Democratic control. The last, is ‘boycotting’ the confirmation hearings. This is probably the least effective because everything will proceed even without the hearings.
Packing the Supreme Court has also been proposed as a theory, but could only be completed with a Democratic-controlled Senate, and could backfire if the Republicans regain control in the future. These processes above can further delegitimize it, exposing hypocrisy, narrow political interests, ‘hardball politics,’ and deep-rooted congressional polarization.
Another issue that could jeopardize the legitimacy of the elections is if Trump does push the nominee of his choice through, it could threaten the integrity of mail-in ballots. And with his majority on the Supreme Court, the election could be decided in his favor, without reasonable evidence. Such a decision would face the consequences of extremely large nationwide demonstrations and further social unrest.
The replacement is Amy Coney Barrett, taking Ginsberg’s seat against Ruth’s dying wishes of choosing her replacement after the elections. Amy Coney Barrett is well-liked by social Conservatives for ruling in favor of anti-abortion, anti-gun control, pro-corporate interest, and anti-immigration supporters in her short time on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Prior to that, she served as a law clerk for Justice Scalia.
Even though she has served for a short period of time, her right-leaning ways are clearly apparent. She is also very religious and a part of a devout Christian sect; People of Praise, which could influence her decisions on the High Court. Especially on issues that are religiously contentious, like abortion, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights.
Amy Coney Barrett is most likely being used as a pawn piece as it may attract more votes from women for the sitting president. Both the president and the Supreme Court Justice Nominee's political views are also against ruling in favor of the constitution and are solely for their political interest and gain. In the end, the United States will fall farther away from the constitution and closer to totalitarian rule, even within the courts, which are supposed to uphold the law and Justice.
Mitch McConnell has, for the most part, packed lower-level Federal Courts with lifelong conservative justices, so it is not a surprise to see Trump do it on a National Level. Under Article III of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is a lifelong appointment, which would require three-fourths of the Union to amend. But changing this would allow for resignations, position changes, and removal of Justices who are disregarding the Constitution in their rulings, instead of basing it off their specific political interests. However, like every counteraction that has been proposed by the Democrats could easily backfire in the future.
The Supreme court is going to be hearing cases in the middle of November, right after the election; some include a renewed attempt to abolish Medicaid for all, DACA, Roe v. Wade. And that is just the surface; much more can be repealed and removed from being protected under the law. The repeals of these landmark cases are more likely than ever, with the nomination and future confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg's death hit many like an oncoming freight train, it was unexpected, but at the same time, it was bound to happen. Her health had been deteriorating for many years, she had fought off cancer multiple times and other medical traumas. As devastating as this was, it is even more heartbreaking for me that “the mere fact that the death of one eighty-seven-year-old woman can bring a democracy plum to its knees.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were Celia and Nathan Bader. Ginsburg held a close relationship with her family as she continued to grow out of childhood, and from an early age, her friends and family called her by the nickname “Kiki.”
Ginsburg grew up in a low-income, working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn. Here, Ginsburg is pictured posing outside her modest home at the age of two. Her mother taught her the value of a good education, which Ginsburg took into her career and life as a young and budding law student in the future.
In the image pictured, Ginsburg, 13, sits immediately to the left of Rabbi Harry Halpern at the East Midwood Jewish Center, a synagogue in Brooklyn, New York, in 1946. Ginsburg stayed deep and true in her faith throughout her life as a working woman. Throughout her high school years, she could be seen giving speeches to her synagogue, which allowed for her public speaking skills to flourish.
This picture was from Ginsburg`s high school yearbook. She attended James Madison High School. After graduating, Ginsburg went on to attend Columbia University, Harvard University, and Cornell University.
In the image above, Ginsburg poses with her future husband of 56 years, Martin Ginsburg. The two went on a blind date in their freshman year of college, eventually having two children together, named Jane C. Ginsburg, and James Steven Ginsburg. The two were both students of law, and Marty was known as Ginsburg's greatest cheerleader throughout Ginsburg's rise in the legal world.
Pictured above: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her wedding dress, about to become the wife of her college sweetheart, Marty Ginsburg.
In the Image above, Ginsburg is pictured tired and overwhelmed after looking for jobs concerning legality. According to Ginsburg, “when I graduated from Columbia Law School, no one would hire me.”
Throughout Ginsburg’s rise in court, she continued to give her husband credit for his support. In 1993, Ginsburg was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton. That same year she noted to the New York Times that Marty was her “biggest booster.”
In her family life, Ruth Bader Ginsburg went on to have two grandchildren in her later years.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg accomplished so much politically in her career, but she also accomplished her understanding of her faith, her family, and her personal agenda throughout her life, as she opened doors for all women around her with her position on the Supreme Court.
Closing, Ginsburg courageously battled cancer as she worked in the supreme courtroom. She passed away on September 18th, 2020 at the age of 87. Ginsburg kept her position in the court until the day she passed, working to uphold universal rights for women and those belonging to the LGBTQ community.
Written by writers Seamus Bozeman & Samantha Simmons