What Does RBG’s Death Mean for America?

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On Friday, September 18, 2020, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Affectionately known by supporters as RBG, Ginsburg served in the Supreme Court for decades.

She was a champion of women’s rights, and fought tirelessly to secure gender equality in the United States. She survived multiple battles with cancer, and was an essential voice of reason and passion on the bench.

In the moments following her passing, friends and family posted heartfelt tributes. The family shared her final words, a dying wish. “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” is reported to have told her granddaughter shortly before her passing.

Ginsburg passed away at age 87 from complications involving her fifth bout with cancer.

A Lasting Legacy

Ginsburg’s death comes after she insisted she wanted to stay on the bench at least through Donald Trump’s first term. Multiple times, she insisted that she wouldn’t retire until she was ninety years old.

It’s likely that, had Hillary Clinton become president in 2016, RBG would have retired shortly after, allowing a Democrat to fill her seat.

Ginsburg was nominated by Bill Clinton, and served as a steadfast champion of gender equality. Her voice was instrumental in the judgment of numerous cases involving women’s bodily autonomy and the right to be treated the same as men.

She was also a defender of LGBT rights, siding with the majority on a recent case involving discrimination against LGBT people.

A Political Battle

Following Ginsburg’s death, Donald Trump vowed to quickly fill her seat. He told reporters on Fox that, since he had won the election, it was only right that he pick Ginsburg’s successor.

However, this flies in the face of the earlier precedent set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2016. In 2016, following the death of Antonin Scalia, then-president Barrack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the bench.

McConnell refused to hear the nomination, citing an apparently long-standing Senate tradition to not confirm justices during an election year.

However, with Ginsburg’s passing, McConnell has shown no signs of opposing Trump’s push to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice. As for why McConnell is comfortable with this bold-faced hypocrisy, his reasoning is unclear.