Justice Ginsburg’s legacy


art by Nancy Dedman

Kate Clark, Managing Editor

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, died on Sept. 18, and the battle between mourning her and filling her seat has begun.

Justice Ginsburg was a pioneer for women’s rights and equality, a groundbreaking litigator, and the only woman on the Supreme Court for 14 years. She attended Cornell University for her undergraduate degree, then went on to be one of nine women in her Harvard Law School class and finally to New York where she finished off her degree at Columbia Law School. All the while, she was taking class notes for her husband who was suffering from testicular cancer so that he would not have to drop out of school and also taking care of their first daughter, Jane.

“We take for granted our education and have no excuse for not doing well,” junior Landry Grover said.
“Her husband got sick and she took his classes for him at Harvard and Columbia while taking her own classes and taking care of a child.”

Before she was initiated onto the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was a litigator, laying the groundwork for gender equality.

During her time as a lawyer, she advocated for gender equality, her most notable case being presented
to the Supreme Court: Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld. In this case, she fought for Stephen Wiesenfeld who had been denied Social Security benefits after his wife, the primary earner in the family, had died. Ginsberg said this rejection implied that women should not be working or earning the money in the family, keeping “women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.” Her client won.

Once appointed to the Supreme Court in 1980, her help and support of equality grew. She voted in support

of abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

“I was actually at my grandmother’s house [when I found out she died],” junior Kate Gillikin said. “My grandmother’s brother died a week before and my grandmother said it might outweigh her brother’s death just because of the fact of the long term effects of it–all of the things RGB did and all the things that could be undone.”

Now there is a fight to fill her seat, and battle lines are drawn.

Eight days after Ginsberg’s death, President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett for the vacant position on the Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett would be the youngest serving justice. This would be Trump’s third justice nomination for the Supreme Court.

The White House is pushing to have the Senate hearing on Oct. 12.

If appointed, Bennett would tilt the court in a more conservative direction, with six Republican jurists and three Democratic. Trump said he planned on appointing a jurist to overrule Roe v. Wade.

The controversy around Bennett lies in the time frame of her nomination. In 2016, after the death of Antonin Scalia, Obama nominated Merrick Garland as the next Supreme Court jurist. However, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, argued that “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.”

However, with only 45 days left, Trump is pushing for Bennett’s confirmation hearing.

“I personally think it was wrong for the Senate to have blocked Obama’s pick four years ago,” senior Anna Connolly said. “That being said, Donald Trump has served for four years, so I think he should be allowed to use the complete and utter extent of his power during his remaining presidency.”

Now with the Notorious RBG gone, will we remember her legacy or only focus on the future?