The impact of RBG


Late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Eagle Photo courtesy of WikiCommons.

In her life as a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg advocated for human rights and gender equality. Ginsburg, 87, died on Sept. 18 this year.

Ginsburg dissented in cases involving reproductive rights to ruling against discrimination of same-sex marriage for 27 years. Ginsburg left behind a legacy that many view as inspirational. While she will be missed, it is also important to consider what her death will propose for the American government. 

Ginsburg’s passing has caused issues for the Supreme Court of the United States. Such as President Donald Trump’s nomination to replace Ginsburg, United States Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who should not replace Ginsburg.

This is due to Barretts previous opinions, a new division of political parties in the Supreme Court if Barrett is appointed and the widespread COVID-19 pandemic in the White House. 

For example, in a 2013 law review article, Barrett stated her view in the Supreme Court’s ability of stare decisis, a former practice of overturning a previous Supreme Court ruling. 

According to the Texas Law review article Barrett said, “The public response to controversial cases, like Roe v. Wade reflects a public rejection of the proposition that stare decrisis can declare a permanent victor in a divisive constitutional struggle.”

Barrett may also be unable to succeed Ginsburg due to the Democratic and Republican split among the Supreme Court, which would result if Barrett is approved by the Senate. 

The Supreme Court was split by four Democrats and five Republicans. However, if Barrett is appointed, the split between the political parties in the Supreme Court will only grow larger. With Ginsburg’s death and Barrett’s nomination, the split may become 6-3 with six Republicans and three Democrats. 

This split between political parties in the Supreme Court will dramatically change the course of action of the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justices will have difficulty deciding on cases dealing with health care, abortion rights, discrimination, etc. 

Many attest that Barrett is a proper replacement for Ginsburg and that her religious views would never interfere with her seat in the Supreme Court. However, this is not the case. 

While Barrett has never ruled on a decision in her previous work in favor of her religious beliefs, she has been known to show opposition in other actions that relate to religion.

In a 1998 Marquette Law Review article, she co-wrote with John H. Garvey, explaining the effect of the Catholic church on federal jurists. Many topics were brought up throughout the article, including abortion rights and capital punishment. 

In the 1998 Marquette Law Review article Barrett said, “Catholic teaching about capital punishment is fairly complicated. Furthermore, it is not possible to say, as some might suppose, that members of the Catholic Church are simply bound by their faith to follow the Church’s teaching on this issue.”

Several United States senators have also expressed their concerns towards Barrett’s nomination through the use of social media. 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted her thoughts regarding the recent Supreme Court nominee on Sept. 27.

“I will not meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett. This nomination process is illegitimate. I refuse to participate in the further degradation of our democracy and our judiciary,” Gillibrand said in a Twitter post shortly after Barrett’s nomination. 

Many citizens are also concerned about the timing of Barrett’s nomination. 

Some who approve of Barrett’s nomination have tested positive for COVID-19, including three senators. This would postpone the Senate’s ability to vote for Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. 

Many Republicans within the Senate are pushing for her nomination and Senator Mitch McConnell announced what would happen in the meantime in e-mails to other senators.

“The Senate will go into a pro forma session until October 19th… I am mindful, though, that these times are unsettling in the life of our country,” McConnel said in the e-mail, “We need to lead now, with extra prudence and care, not just for our own health and well being, but to be able to perform our elected duties and to be examples to the country. Wear masks, stay distant, and come back safely on the 19th.”

Other senators understand that a hearing during this period would not be the best decision. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized McConnell in a public statement, “If it’s too dangerous to have the Senate in session it is also too dangerous for committee hearings to continue. Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham’s monomaniacal drive to confirm Judge Barrett at all costs needlessly threatens the health and safety of Senators, staff, and all those who work in the Capitol complex,” Schumer said to the public after receiving information of the Senate’s plan to push Barrett’s nomination. 

While Barrett’s nomination is still an ongoing issue, it is uncertain whether her nomination will be successful or not. 

However, it is apparent that Barrett will not be a proper replacement for Ginsburg due to her previous views, the effect it would have on the Supreme Court system and other world issues that would make the normal process much more difficult and dangerous.