The Passing of A Trailblazer in Women's History

By Carly Herbert | News Editor

On Friday, Sep. 18 Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away from complications of her pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg was 87 years old and spent the entirety of her career striving to make the world a more equal place. She was a graduate of Harvard Law School and went on to spend some time teaching civil procedure at both Rutgers University and Columbia University.

A trailblazer in the feminist movement and a monumental advocate for women’s rights, Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993, the second woman to ever hold a seat on the bench. One of the highlights of her early career on the Supreme Court was in 1996 when she made the landmark decision of the United States v. Virginia where it was ruled that the Virginia Military Institute could no longer refuse to allow women.

RBG fought for a women’s right to chose when it comes to abortion and reproductive rights. She also strongly advocated for free speech and civil rights.

Her list of achievements is not a short one. Most notably, in August of 2010, Ginsburg received the ABA Medal, the American Bar Association’s highest honor. In In 2002, Ginsburg was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, seven years later, in 2009, she was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women.

Just this year, on Sep. 17, Ginsburg was award the Liberty Medal, which honors those “who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people across the globe.”

Along with her passing also comes political turmoil. The 2020 Presidential Election is merely a month away now and a seat on the Supreme Court’s bench remains open. Despite it being Ginsburg’s dying wish for the seat to remain open until after a new president is elected, there is a strong push from the Republican Party to fill her seat before the election.

On a conference call this past week, Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, said “Let me be clear: if Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year. Nothing is off the table.” Schumer also stated that Senate Democrats are pushing to not fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg's death "until we have a new president."

In the past, it’s taken up to months to properly appoint and confirm a new Supreme Court Judge or Justice, but here we are looking at only a few short weeks until the election, with mail-in ballot already being submitted. Under Trump’s presidency, the rules were changed to allow a filibuster to be broken with only 51 votes opposed to the previous 60. Currently, the Republican party holds the majority in the Senate 53-47, which means that it would take four Republicans to vote with all the Democrats in order to block the nomination from going through.

On Wednesday, Sep. 23, Ginsburg’s memorial began, as she lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Building, the first woman to ever be granted this honor. Over the course of the coming weeks, America will watch as this unfolds on the political battleground as we creep closer to Election Day on Nov. 3.

Ginsburg lying in repose outside the US Capitol Building. Photo from the New York Times.