Casey McShea, Managing Editor |
Two weeks ago, on the evening of Sept. 18, I got a call from my younger sister. When she uttered the words, “RBG died,” I felt like the floor had been ripped out from underneath my feet. It couldn’t be true; this was some kind of sick joke. Twitter had confirmed the worst: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died at age 87 after a long and hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.
Justice Ginsburg was a role model and icon for many, and earned the nickname “champion of women.” As the second female and first Jewish female justice to ever serve on the Supreme Court, she played a crucial role in gender equality and civil rights cases such as United States v. Virginia and Olmstead v. L.C.
Her death was shocking and heartbreaking to many. When the news of her death became public, so did her last wishes. According to Clara Spera, Justice Ginsburg’s granddaughter, Ginsburg said to her, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
The surfacing of this quote received loud intense feedback on social media sites, particularly Twitter. Thousands of people speculated how the upcoming weeks would proceed, calling upon Republican Senate members to refuse the approval of a second Trump nomination, which was undoubtedly already in the works. Some Republicans spoke out, committing to withholding from voting until after the Nov. 3 election results were confirmed.
In Feb. 2016, when Justice Antonin Scalia died, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, for the seat. Garland was considered a moderate choice for the nomination, a smart move on President Obama’s part to try and appeal to the Republican-controlled Senate.
This, however, did not make a difference. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “declared any appointment by the sitting president to be null and void,” according to NPR. He, and many other Republican senators, agreed that the American people deserved to have a say in the next Supreme Court appointment by not appointing a new justice until the results of the 2016 election were confirmed. They claimed the election was too soon to appoint a new justice. The election, at that point, had been eight months away.
Now, 32 days before the 2020 election and with some states already voting, the same Republicans who claimed eight months was too soon for a new appointment are pushing for a second Trump nomination and appointment.
Republicans senators are complicit in an infringement on American democracy. Their refusal to meet and approve a Supreme Court justice under President Obama was unprecedented and shocking. Their disregard for embracing their own hypocrisy is, quite frankly, disgusting, disgraceful and a clear abuse of power.
Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is not only disrespecting the last wishes of Justice Ginsburg but also all her accomplishments during her time on the Supreme Court. Crucial Supreme Court cases such as Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose to have a safe abortion, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which guarantees same-sex couples to legally marry, now hang in the balance.
Barrett, who currently serves on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, is infamous for her anti-abortion and homophobic beliefs. As a professor at Notre Dame Law School, she was a member of the anti-abortion faculty group. She also has stated that she believes “life begins at conception” and has called abortion “always immoral,” according to Business Insider. She has suggested that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and voted to restrict access in two abortion rights cases. According to HRC, Barrett defended the Supreme Court’s dissenters on Obergefell v. Hodges. Barrett also said that extending Title IX protections to transgender Americans is “a strain on the text” and misgendered transgender people.
Amy Coney Barrett cannot be appointed to the Supreme Court. Since Supreme Court justices are appointed for life and Barret is only 48, her appointment would shape an entire generation’s worth of basic human rights cases and will likely reverse decades of progress for women’s and civil rights. She is a danger to the American public and will choose to do only harm to thousands of Americans.
I am urging everyone to vote, and if you are not registered yet, you can do so here before Oct. 9: www.vote.org. Your democracy and rights hang in the balance. Donald Trump must not be allowed to serve a second term. Justice Ginsburg continues to break barriers, even in death, as she lied in state at the U.S. Capitol Building as the first woman and first Jewish person to have ever done so. Her efforts and accomplishments will not be lost or forgotten, nor will she. While her death brings on many fears and uncertainties, we cannot dishonor her legacy by giving up. We must keep fighting—for women, BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized or oppressed groups.