Our Notorious R.B.G.

Remembering a feminist icon, a role model, and a true American hero


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NOTORIOUS R.B.G. On Friday, September 18, 2020, we lost Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to ever be appointed to the United States Supreme Court bench and most recently a pop-culture icon among feminists and liberals alike. Thousands have already come together across the country to honor her memory in vigils and memorials, and yet thousands more are sharing their favorite quotes or memories of the wise woman herself. As we take the time to acknowledge her determination to fight for what she believed in on the Supreme Court and throughout her career, we will also dive into what’s happening next and the political turmoil her open seat has now left behind.

On Friday, September 18, 2020, America lost one of the most prominent Supreme Court Justices we have ever had. We lost a trailblazer in feminist work for equality, a role model for young women across the country, and a firm moral leader in the Supreme Court during a time of controversy and disquiet. We lost a woman who’s quiet but firm dissent reverberated across the expanse of our nation and whose small stature did not stop her from exuding an aura of wisdom, dignity, and grace wherever she stood.

   On Friday, September 18, 2020, we lost Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to ever be appointed to the United States Supreme Court bench and most recently a pop-culture icon among feminists and liberals alike. 

   So who truly was she? Why has our nation collectively taken a moment to mourn the loss of another victim of this truly tragic year? 

   Why did I, like many others across the nation that night, feel a tear or two quietly slip out in grief over the loss of a Supreme Court Justice that I didn’t even really know?

   But that’s just the thing isn’t it. 

   She wasn’t just another judge on the bench. She was a woman so powerful in her words, so inspiring to so many of us, so utterly unafraid to voice her dissent where it mattered most, that her words resonated within us. We all knew her in the way we wanted to see her in ourselves. An unshakeable and determined advocate for equality so necessary in the judiciary branch. A hero to countless Americans. She gave me and countless others so much inspiration to continue the fight for justice, no matter our age, no matter what people around us may say because no desire for justice can ever truly be belied by the opinions of others. 

   Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for decades to see the day where women were equal to men socially, professionally, and economically. And even with her 87 years, she still didn’t get to see that day. But she never gave up. And so we are still here today celebrating every achievement we reach. We live in a country where women are beating men in the number of college degrees we receive, whether bachelors or masters, a significant contrast to the time where RBG herself was one of the nine female students graduating from Harvard in a class of over 500. 

   However, with all of this progression, feminism and the gender rights movement have been slowed considerably considering the overarching timeline. The backlash to the #MeToo movement and the constant debate over abortion has hung over the heads of many advocates of the movement and brought progression to a screeching grind. 

   This is one of the moments where Ginsberg’s wisdom reminds us that “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” A common part of her long withstanding determination among the harsh tides of rage and destruction. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was not only our rock but a bright shining beacon in the midst of a centuries-long storm, guiding us toward a futuristic shore we could only imagine. 

   Now, perhaps, for the other reason those tears welled up in my eyes when I first saw the news. 


   (Ironically, as a political enthusiast, this may be one of the first instances in my writing where I am loath to discuss the political aspect of the matter at hand. But regrettably, it’s a bit of a necessity here.)

   As we all know, when one Supreme Court Justice is retired from their life long term, another must fill their place. A nine-person balance is currently the decided upon number to be maintained within the court to ensure a majority rule. 

   We all remember the previous Trump administration confirmation hearings, with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s at the forefront, and once again we are left with two parties scrambling to prevent the other from appointing a justice who would only suit their own opinions. The days of moderate judges seem to be over as we welcome another instance of heated debate over a Supreme Court nominee leaning one way or the other. 

   Yet, we still have another layer of this unholy onion to peel – the upcoming elections. 

   (Yes, everyone reading along please feel free to take a moment to sigh loudly along with me; in through the nose, out through the mouth, and once more to expel the remaining dregs of sanity from whatever mind we have left.) 

   Anyways, the current election is pitting a far-right Republican sitting president with a left-leaning Democratic nominee. The You-Know-Whos of the year. Both are holding stake for highly charged parties who are raring to fight about judicial nominees. However, one of the more critical sides of this fight is the debate over whether or not it is even ethical to appoint a new Supreme Court Judge with just over a month left till the election. 

   This is an extremely controversial fight especially now if any of you remember the Merrick Garland case in 2016, Former President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the bench. The confirmation process was held up for nine months, slowed by several Republican senators and leaders after they declared their determination to prevent his confirmation at all costs. Notable far-right leaders like Senator Lindsey Graham even went so far as to ask reporters to “use my words against [him]” during the 2016 process where he insisted on his belief that even if the next president was a Republican, he would maintain the same belief that it should not be the due procedure for a president to appoint a new judge so close to the election. 

  Well, reporters certainly are using his words against him amongst a sense of common outrage in the Democratic party over his incredibly convenient change of heart. He himself seemed unbothered by the sheer hypocrisy of his own words and only claimed that any Democrats would do the same if they were in his shoes.

    And thus the maelstrom of controversy has proceeded, with Democrats panicking at the thought of a future Supreme Court with an extremely unbalanced viewpoint, a potential six-to-three conservative majority, effectively able to block any liberal legislation from passing through the court for decades to come. Republicans seem all too giddy about this prospect, however, with President Donald Trump already rolling out potential nominees to be vetted and confirmed, with tensions rising as Democratic senators scramble to find a way to prevent the confirmation of any new justices in the Trump administration. 

   To completely be able to block the Senate’s confirmation of a new Supreme Court Judge, the entire Democratic and Independent blocks along with at least four Republican senators need to be willing and determined to work together to throw the vote. So far only a couple of  Republican members have declared their unwillingness to allow the vote to pass, and as of yet, no other Republicans have stepped up to the plate. Thus, the future remains up in the air. 

   This entire political process, however, notably comes at another moral cost. As many may know, a few days before Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, she told her daughter that “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” This dying wish has left the nation with a question – do we steamroll on, focused on our own political desires, or do we pause to honor the wise words of a Justice whose passion for justice determination for equality at all costs inspired millions of people, young and old, to stand up and say 

   “I dissent”.