Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday, September 18, 2020, from complications from Pancreas cancer. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, she served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death. She was 87 years old.
Black Americans and all women should mourn the loss of a real fighter for equality. Justice Ginsburg had been on the side of equality long before being placed on the Supreme Court. She often spoke out against injustices with her rulings. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s most famous dissent criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ 5-4 ruling on Shelby County v. Holder (2013). This case is known for gutting critical sections of the Voting Rights Act. She wrote, “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States reminds us that elections have consequences. In February of 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denied President Obama his right to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after his death on the bench. It was an unprecedented move, and a rebuke of Obama’s authority made nine months before the 2016 Presidential election. Now, Mitch McConnell has changed his tune. He now pledges the Senate will vote on Ruth Ginsburg’s Supreme Court replacement.
President Barack Obama issued a statement Friday saying, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That is how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored. Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in”.
Elections hold consequences, and we all must exercise our right to vote. Our lives depend on it. It is the only way to protect our rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights, environmental rights, civil rights, etc.
LaToya Wright is a contributing writer for the Chicago Defender. Find her on social media @fatgirl_fashion.