The recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left a number of questions lingering in the American political sphere. Will Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump follow the Merrick Garland precedent and not nominate a justice until after the election? Will Trump pick a replacement for RBG who honors her legacy and fights for gender equality?
Could a president defined by his gleeful norm-shattering spree finally do something respectful and dignified?
The answer to all of these questions, of course, is a resounding “no”. Mitch McConnell made up the “Senate procedure” of not confirming a Justice during an election year to rob Barrack Obama of a Supreme Court slot. Trump would only pick a replacement for RBG who wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
And, unsurprisingly, Trump will take any and every opportunity to infuriate and goad his political opponents.
The Senate and the nation mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/NOwYLhDxIk
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 19, 2020
Enter Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett is a federal appellate court judge who has been an outspoken critic of abortion rights in the US. She neatly slots into a long-standing conservative quest to reverse the ruling of Roe v. Wade, which secured abortion rights for women in the US.
Many have noted that Barrett’s name being attached to a Supreme Court nomination has many LGBT rights activists concerned.
Barrett’s voting record makes her consistent with Trump’s image and policies. She has ruled against employers in suits against employees, against LGBT people in suits claiming unfair treatment, and has been an outspoken critic of abortion rights. All said, she’d be happy to tear down RBG’s legacy of equality, all while sitting in Ginsburg’s still-warm seat.
Many of Ginsburg’s political opponents were waiting for her passing with bated breath. Jokes about Ginsburg needing arthritis back pain relief or wearing dentures became common mean-spirited jabs towards the end of her life.
Ginsburg, however, stayed above such jabs, and was an icon for millions of people. Her steadfast commitment to equality for all people has inspired a generation of legal professionals.
In fact, an ironic twist of Barrett’s own career is that, while she would happily tear down Ginsburg’s legacy, she’s following a trail that RBG blazed. Early in her career, RBG was a rare sight: a woman lawyer in a male-dominated field.
With RBG laying the groundwork, many more women have gone on to become lawyers and judges in the US. In this way, some have accused judges like Barrett of “closing the door” behind themselves as they enter positions of power.