By: Sahana Vijay Krishna
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87 on September 18, 2020 from pancreatic cancer, leaving a seat open on the Supreme Court for President Trump to poach.
Ginsburg was an idolized feminist icon and leader of the court’s liberal wing. She was the co-founder of the A.C.L.U. ‘s Women’s Rights Project which focused on workplace discrimination, equal education, domestic violence, and civil rights. As a justice, she continued to advocate for the rights of both men and women in addition to playing key roles in landmark cases such as Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States.
Ginsburg’s dying wish was to not be replaced until after the election. However, the Republican Party has no respect for her last wish, seeing as President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett — who couldn’t be more different than Ginsburg — merely days after her death in the vain hope that it would encourage conservative voters. If Trump’s appointment goes through, it would guarantee conservatives a majority vote in the Supreme Court, and he has been hinting for days that he won’t give up the Presidency easily even if it means using tactical last ditch efforts to invalidate the results of the election.
Trump claims that it’s his right to choose to appoint a nominee because he is the current president, but why didn’t this logic apply to Barack Obama? In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland to fill Justice Scalia’s seat 237 days before the election. Yet, the Republican Party refused to even consider the nomination based on the argument that it’s up to the next elected president to choose a candidate. 237 days before the election is nothing compared to 38, not to mention the fact that Trump is breaking a precedent set by his own party.
There has been a lot of speculation that Democrats will pack the Supreme Court following a victory in the election if Amy Barrett is effectively appointed. During the Vice Presidential debate, Mike Pence criticized Kamala Harris for avoiding the topic about packing the Supreme Court and said, “If you cherish our Supreme Court, if you cherish the separation of powers, you need to reject the Biden-Harris ticket come November the 3rd. Reelect President Donald Trump and we’ll stand by that separation of powers in the nine seat Supreme Court.” However, this is a lie: President Trump has already appointed two Supreme Court justices and now is attempting to slide in a third.
If Amy Coney Barrett is successfully appointed to the Supreme Court, she will derail all the progress Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made throughout her life; all her priorities will drag America in the wrong direction. The Supreme Court functions in part due to the balance between the Conservative and Liberal wings. The confirmation of Barrett will result in the Conservatives holding a 6-3 majority on the Liberals, a death sentence for the Affordable Care Act and Roe vs. Wade.
Amy Barrett has already expressed her opinion on abortion rights: she is willing to deprive women of the ability to make decisions about their own bodies. She is also ready to throw away the Affordable Care Act, preventing thousands of Americans from acquiring necessary health care. Not to mention her dismissive thoughts on gay marriage and LGBTQ+ rights. It would be extremely disheartening to see someone tear down the efforts of a woman who has worked so hard to achieve extraordinary escalation in gender equality. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the glue that held together rudimentary human rights. We, the American people, must not let Trump fill her seat with Barrett in order to call the fundamental decisions — that have shaped America for the better — into question.