Washington DC- HICGI News Agency.
President Donald J Trump has described fallen Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg “was amazing woman who led an amazing life.” in an email message to his supporters. His campaign team has added “The President is right, we have an obligation to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, without delay!” His team says at this critical moment, he’s counting on STRONGEST supporters to step up and Make America Great Again!
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed on Friday aged 87 and is described by many as the history-making jurist, feminist icon and national treasure. Ginsburg became only the second woman ever to serve as a justice on the nation’s highest court.
Her death leaves a pivotal vacancy that could dramatically shape the nation’s highest court for years to come. The scramble to fill her seat will be especially tense with less than two months until the presidential election.
Ginsburg told her granddaughter before she died that her wish was not to have her seat filled until a new president is elected.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told Clara Spera in the days before her death, NPR reported.
Ginsburg’s wish could be fulfilled, if the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, falls short in his 11th-hour push to rally Republicans to replace her.
But even before Ginsburg’s death, McConnell, Donald Trump, conservative legal activists and evangelical groups were mobilizing for an all-hands campaign to fulfill their dream of a conservative super-majority on the supreme court that could endure for generations.
That dream sees Roe v Wade, the landmark abortion rights decision, overturned; healthcare laws and environmental regulations tossed out; voting rights rolled back; anti-discrimination protections stripped; protections for immigrants vacated; and crucial bonds restraining the power of the presidency loosed.
A national anti-abortion group, Susan B Anthony List, hailed a historic crossroads in the battle to make abortion illegal.
“This is a turning point for the nation in the fight to protect its most vulnerable, the unborn,” the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said. “The pro-life grassroots have full confidence that President Trump, leader McConnell, [judiciary committee] chairman [Lindsey] Graham, and every pro-life senator will move swiftly to fill this vacancy.”
Ginsburg’s death has opened the way for Trump to make a third appointment to the court in just four years. But this one would be special. With his first two picks, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, Trump filled slots that had been occupied by conservatives.
By replacing Ginsburg, Trump will have the opportunity – and he has left no doubt that he sees it as such – to swap out a liberal lion with a young conservative, building up the current four-vote bedrock conservative minority into an impregnable five-vote majority. The nine-seat court decides cases with strict majority votes.
If Trump can replace Ginsburg, conservatives would not even need the vote of the chief justice. A George W Bush appointee, John Roberts’ rulings with the liberal bloc on healthcare and LGBTQ+ and immigration rights have led activists on the right to view him as unreliable.
Such a fundamental ideological tilt has not happened in 50 years. Progressive groups have raised an alarm about a generational threat to basic rights and protections.
“It would be an insult to [Ginsburg’s] legacy for this president to select a justice he promises will assail our rights and undermine, upend and unravel our democratic norms for generations,” said Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Our fundamental rights are at risk.”
Trump has released lists of potential nominees, in an effort to shore up support among evangelicals and so-called “values voters”.
The lists include eight circuit court judges, three senators and two former solicitors general. But court watchers see three names as most likely to get the call: Amy Coney Barrett, 48, a federal appeals court judge in Chicago; Thomas M Hardiman, 55, an appeals court judge in Philadelphia; and William Pryor, 58, an appeals court judge in Atlanta.
Any Trump nominee would have to appear before Graham’s judiciary committee, which would then vote the nomination onto the Senate floor, where a majority would be required to install the judge on the court.
Outraged that McConnell planned hearings so close to the election, in what critics see as a cravenly hypocritical reversal of his refusal in 2016 to consider a Barack Obama nominee advanced in March of an election year, Democrats and activists vowed to stop any rushed confirmation. With the next presidential election quickly closing in, now is not the time to ram through a supreme court justice
“With the next presidential election quickly closing in, now is not the time to ram through a supreme court justice,” said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice.
The perceived frontrunners in Trump’s selection process have drawn sharp warnings from progressives about ties and statements on abortion, criminal justice and other topics.
Barrett, a former law professor at the University of Notre Dame, is an outspoken Roman Catholic and a mother of seven.
“The dogma lives loudly within you and that’s a concern, when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country,” the Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein told Barrett at confirmation hearings for her appeals court post.
Barrett replied: “If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously, and I’m a faithful Catholic, I am, although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge.”
Pryor, 54, of Alabama, once described Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision making abortion legal, as the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law” and wrote that it had “led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children”. Mitch McConnell vows US Senate will push on with Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg
Appointed to the circuit court by Bush in 2004, Pryor was previously Alabama attorney general, replacing future Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions.
Hardiman, 51, of Pennsylvania, has advanced conservative rulings in “law and order” cases on issues such as sentencing guidelines, the death penalty and gun rights issues. In one case, he questioned if the first amendment protected people who videotaped police during a traffic stop.
For any nominee to advance, Graham, in a tough re-election fight in South Carolina, must agree to schedule a last-minute hearing. After Obama nominated Merrick Garland in 2016 to fill a seat vacated after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Graham said he was against such an election year move Ondoru mo p Eng“I waeyingyerdSuorent you to use my words against me,” Graham said in televised remarks. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’”
Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 and repeatedly vowed to remain as long as her health allowed. She championed women’s rights and was revered by many as a feminist icon.
Replacing her will be no small task. In 2016, during President Barack Obama’s final year, a political fight erupted after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Republicans staved off Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, despite fierce opposition from the Democrats.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” Sen. Mitch McConnell famously said at the time.
On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed those words. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski vowed to not vote for a new justice until after the November election, Alaska Public Media reported.
But McConnell indicated Friday that selecting Ginsburg’s replacement will be very different than replacing Scalia. In a statement, he both praised Ginsburg’s legacy and promised to have Trump select her replacement.
“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term,” McConnell’s statement read in part. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Ginsburg struggled against blatant sexism throughout her career as she climbed to the pinnacle of her profession.
A lifelong advocate of gender equality, she was fond of joking that there would be enough women on the nine-seat Supreme Court “when there are nine”.
She did not let up in her twilight years, remaining a scathing dissenter on a conservative-tilting bench, even while her periodic health scares left liberal America on edge.
Despite maintaining a modest public profile, like most top judges, Ginsburg inadvertently became not just a celebrity, but a pop-culture heroine.
She may have stood an impish 5ft, but Ginsburg will be remembered as a legal colossus.
She was born to Jewish immigrant parents in the Flatbush neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York City, in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression. Her mother, Celia Bader, died of cancer the day before Ginsburg left high school.
She attended Cornell University, where she met Martin “Marty” Ginsburg on a blind date, kindling a romance that spanned almost six decades until his death in 2010.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remembered
“Meeting Marty was by far the most fortunate thing that ever happened to me,” Ginsburg once said, adding that the man who would become her husband “was the first boy I ever knew who cared that I had a brain”.
The couple married shortly after Ginsburg’s graduation in 1954 and they had a daughter, Jane, the following year. While she was pregnant, Ginsburg was demoted in her job at a social security office – discrimination against pregnant women was still legal in the 1950s. The experience led her to conceal her second pregnancy before she gave birth to her son, James, in 1965.
In 1956, Ginsburg became one of nine women accepted to Harvard Law School, out of a class of about 500, where the dean famously asked that his female students tell him how they could justify taking the place of a man at his school.
When Marty, also a Harvard Law alumnus, took a job as a tax lawyer in New York, Ginsburg transferred to Columbia Law School to complete her third and final year, becoming the first woman to work at both colleges’ law reviews.
‘Teacher’ to male justices
Despite finishing top of her class, Ginsburg did not receive a single job offer after graduation.
“Not a law firm in the entire city of New York would employ me,” she later said. “I struck out on three grounds: I was Jewish, a woman and a mother.”
She wound up on a project studying civil procedure in Sweden before becoming a professor at Rutgers Law School, where she taught some of the first classes on women and the law.
“The women’s movement came alive at the end of the 60s,” she said to NPR. “There I was, a law school professor with time that I could devote to moving along this change.”
In 1971, Ginsburg made her first successful argument before the Supreme Court, when she filed the lead brief in Reed v Reed, which examined whether men could be automatically preferred over women as estate executors.
“In very recent years, a new appreciation of women’s place has been generated in the United States,” the brief states. “Activated by feminists of both sexes, courts and legislatures have begun to recognise the claim of women to full membership in the class ‘persons’ entitled to due process guarantees of life and liberty and the equal protection of the laws.”
The court agreed with Ginsburg, marking the first time the Supreme Court had struck down a law because of gender-based discrimination.
In 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). That same year, Ginsburg became the first tenured female professor at Columbia Law School.
She was soon the ACLU’s general counsel, launching a series of gender-discrimination cases. Six of these brought her before the Supreme Court, five of which she won.
She compared her role to that of a “kindergarten teacher”, explaining gender discrimination to the all-male justices.
Her approach was cautious and highly strategic. She favoured incrementalism, thinking it wise to dismantle sexist laws and policies one by one, rather than run the risk of asking the Supreme Court to outlaw all rules that treat men and women unequally.
Cognisant of her exclusively male audience on the court, Ginsburg’s clients were often men. In 1975, she argued the case of a young widower who was denied benefits after his wife died in childbirth.
“His case was the perfect example of how gender-based discrimination hurts everyone,” Ginsburg said.
She later said leading the legal side of the women’s movement during this period – decades before joining the Supreme Court – counted as her greatest professional work.
“I had the good fortune to be alive in the 1960s, then, and continuing through the 1970s,” she said. “For the first time in history it became possible to urge before the courts successfully that equal justice under law requires all arms of government to regard women as persons equal in stature to men.”
In 1980, Ginsburg was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as part of President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to diversify federal courts.
Though Ginsburg was often portrayed as a liberal firebrand, her days on the appeals court were marked by moderation.
She earned a reputation as a centrist, voting with conservatives many times and against, for example, re-hearing the discrimination case of a sailo r who said he had been discharged from the US Navy for being gay.
She was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton after a lengthy search process. Ginsburg was the second woman ever confirmed to that bench, following Sandra Day O’Connor, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Among Ginsburg’s most significant, early cases was United States v Virginia, which struck down the men-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute.
While Virginia “serves the state’s sons, it makes no provision whatever for her daughters. That is not equal protection”, Ginsburg wrote for the court’s majority. No law or policy should deny women “full citizenship stature – equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities.”
During her time on the bench, Justice Ginsburg moved noticeably to the left. She served as a counterbalance to the court itself, which, with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh by President Donald Trump, slanted in favour of conservative justices.
Her dissents were forceful – occasionally biting – and Ginsburg did not shy away from criticising her colleagues’ opinions.
In 2013, objecting to the court’s decision to strike down a significant portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, Ginsburg wrote: “The Court’s opinion can hardly be described as an exemplar of restrained and moderate decision making.”
The US Supreme Court justices pose for their official portrait in November 2018
In 2015, Ginsburg sided with the majority on two landmark cases – both massive victories for American progressives. She was one of six justices to uphold a crucial component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. In the second, Obergefell v Hodges, she sided with the 5-4 majority, legalising same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
‘Best friend and biggest booster’
As Ginsburg’s legal career soared, her personal life was anchored by marriage to Marty.
Their relationship reflected a gender parity that was ahead of its time. The couple shared the childcare and housework, and Marty did virtually all of the cooking.
“I learned very early on in our marriage that Ruth was a fairly terrible cook and, for lack of interest, unlikely to improve,” he said in a 1996 speech.
Professionally, Marty was a relentless champion of his wife. Clinton officials said it was his tireless lobbying that brought Ginsburg’s name to the shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees in 1993.
He reportedly told a friend that the most important thing he did in his own life “is to enable Ruth to do what she has done”.
After her confirmation, Ginsburg thanked Marty, “who has been, since our teenage years, my best friend and biggest booster”.
Marty Ginsburg holds the Bible for his wife as she is sworn in as Supreme Court Justice
In his final weeks, facing his own battle with cancer, Marty wrote a letter to his wife saying that other than parents and kids, “you are the only person I have loved in my life.
“I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell.”
He died in June 2010 after 56 years of marriage.
The next morning Ginsburg was on the bench at the Supreme Court to read an opinion on the final day of the term “because [Marty] would have wanted it”, she later told the New Yorker magazine.
‘I will live’
Ginsburg had five major run-ins with cancer herself.
Justice O’Connor, who had breast cancer in the 1980s, was said to have suggested that Ginsburg schedule chemotherapy for Fridays so she could use the weekend to recover for oral arguments.
It worked: Ginsburg only missed oral arguments twice because of illness.
Ginsburg said she also followed the advice of opera singer Marilyn Horne, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2005.
“She said, ‘I will live,'” Ginsburg recalled to NPR. “Not that, ‘I hope I live’, or, ‘I want to live’, but, ‘I will live.'”
Her longevity brought immense relief to liberal America, which fretted that another vacancy on the court would allow its conservative majority to become even more ascendant during the Trump era.
‘The Notorious RBG’
Toward the end of her life, Ginsburg became a national icon. Due in part to her withering dissents, a young law student created a Tumblr account dedicated to Ginsburg called Notorious RBG – a nod to the late rapper The Notorious BIG.
The account introduced Ginsburg to a new generation of young feminists and propelled her to that rarest of distinctions for a judge: she became a cult figure.
The Notorious RBG was the subject of a documentary, an award-winning biopic and countless bestselling novels. She inspired Saturday Night Live skits and had her likeness plastered on mugs and T-shirts.
“It was beyond my wildest imagination that I would one day become the Notorious RBG,” she said. “I am now 86 years old and yet people of all ages want to take their picture with me.”
Every aspect of her life was dissected and mythologised, from her workout routine to her love of hair scrunchies.
Asked by NPR in 2019 if she had any regrets given the challenges she had faced in life, Ginsburg’s supreme self-belief shone through.
“I do think I was born under a very bright star,” she replied.