On September 18, 2020, the world lost an iconic woman. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG for short, was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993 and was the second female judge to ever serve on the United States Supreme Court. She was an advocate for women’s rights as well as gender equality. Obergefell v. Hodges, Olmstead v. L.C., and United States v. Virginia are just a few Supreme Court cases that Ginsburg decided on. While she continued to be on the right side of history with her liberal ideals, her legacy may fade away.
As the 2020 election approaches, her impact is in jeopardy. When Supreme Court judges are removed from office, either by impeachment, death, retirement, or resignation, a new judge is appointed. The appointment process begins with the president and the appointee is approved by the Senate. Currently, there is a Republican majority in the Senate and President Donald Trump is the one deciding to appoint. Despite Ginsburg’s request of holding off on the appointment process until after the 2020 election, and Mitch McConnell’s 2016 statement favoring a delay in appointment till after an election year, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump seem to be eager to replace RBG’s spot.
In 2016, McConnell wished for a delay in appointment until after a lame-duck year. He stated, "I believe the overwhelming view of the Republican Conference in the Senate is that this nomination should not be filled, this vacancy should not be filled by this lame-duck president." after the passing of Judge Scalia. Of course, McConnell wants to benefit his party and self. His 2016 opinion was based on his wish for a Republican president to replace the former President of the United States, Barack Obama. Now that Donald Trump may be replaced by Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 election, he is going back on his 2016 statement of waiting. McConnell’s opinion is important because he is the Senate Majority Leader, meaning he essentially gets the most say on what the Republicans decide on.
Those that care for and want to continue to have the rights RBG fought so fervently for are feeling hopeless, but this is not the time for that. While citizens do not possess the power to decide who the Supreme Court Justices are, we do have the power to decide who we elect, both in local, state, and national offices. Our votes matter now more than ever. To think that your vote gets lost in a sea of others’ is to be sorely mistaken. If everyone believed such a hopeless prospect, change would never occur. It is important to always vote, but this year even more so.
Do not let RBG’s legacy die in vain. Check with your state’s voter registration process and ensure that you vote this election. For those that are fearful of the COVID-19 pandemic, research ways to request an absentee ballot. If you are worried that your vote may be lost in the mail, ask your Board of Elections if there is a way to drop off your absentee ballot to a voting center. Early voting has begun in some states already. Your voice decides our collective future and this is the time to fight the hardest for what you want. Vote for women’s reproductive health. Vote for gender equality. Vote for environmental protection. Vote for prison reform. Vote for education. Vote for the future we all deserve to have no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or ethnicity.