Major events remind me I have too many badge notifications for apps on my phone turned ‘on.’ I grab my phone annoyed, awaiting which politician or celebrity broke news in today’s cancel culture. But this time, each notification is necessary. The NYT, NPR, CNN, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, WaPo; each stack over the other on my lock screen announcing the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It takes that many notifications, each sinking my heart further down my body, to believe this is real and that the sewing of progress could be undone.
The immediacy in which politicians and Americans responded to what happens now that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passed is a testament to her importance and position.
But no matter what narrative our amygdalae prescribe to it, we’ve all stopped in our tracks these past few days to wonder how someone so small had the fire, wisdom, and servitude of a kingdom, and preserve its energy for a lifetime. We scan the timeline of her life, awash in awe.
Alas, stopping more than a moment leaves you a step behind in the world we live in. Within one hour of the announcement that Ginsburg passed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced along with his official statement mourning the loss of Ginsburg, that the Senate would vote on whoever President Trump nominates to replace her before November 3rd, 2020. This is unprecedented because it’s been 80 years since a new Justice was sworn in during an election year. And in 2016 under the same circumstances, Republicans rejected voting on Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, using the excuse that it was an election year, and that the “people” in the upcoming 2016 election will choose the next Supreme Court Justice. McConnell announced this 9 months before the 2016 election. Today, people are already voting, and Election Day is 40~ days away, and Republicans have repositioned the narrative for their benefit. Now, they say it’s their duty to choose the nominee because the Senate has a Republican majority (which they also had in 2016), and that means the “people” want them to move forward before the 2020 election.
I don’t know which “people” McConnell refers to, because not him, Lindsey Graham, or anyone else consulted me on what they should do. Plainly, politicians have forgotten that they work for the people. Both Republicans and Democrats evolve this narrative as it meets their needs, and it’s comical how “Law and Order” only matters when it benefits Republicans. Unfortunately, this sometimes has to hurt Democrats as they continue to follow ambiguous morals. Case in point, Justice Anthony Kennedy resigned in 2018, opening another Justice seat that eventually Brett Kavanaugh would fill. It was reported that Anthony Kennedy resigned after discussions with Republican colleagues who urged him to open that spot and guarantee another conservative Justice for decades to come. This was important to do in early 2018, because there was a chance the 2018 midterm election could flip the senate to a Democratic Majority. On the contrary, Democrats did the same to Ginsburg under the Obama administration, pressuring her to resign so that they could replace her with fresh Democrat.
Except Ginsburg said no. Therein lies the woman Ruth Bader Ginsburg was. She fought party lines and empowered the woman’s voice. At times that voice also honored moderate values, supported Conservative colleagues, and she even called Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in a football game “dumb and disrespectful” before going back on her words and admitting she didn’t understand the whole story.
Now, isn’t that human? Isn’t that the America we want? I can already feel a resounding ‘no’ in my head from some of the people who read this.
I myself can’t speak without bias. I don’t understand how our pro-life neighbors can believe an entire nation should abide by their rules and ban safe abortion. However, with that regard, how can Democrats ask Republicans to abide by their ambiguous rules of decency — where they ask not to vote on a Supreme Court Justice nominee so close to the election. And what’s their reasoning? Because we haven’t done anything like this in nearly a century. Democrats are merely asking for the exact same “Order” that Republicans relied on in 2016 when Justice Scalia passed. For those that don’t remember, since Obama couldn’t move Merrick Garland through the nomination process, the vote stalled through the rest of his term. Donald Trump was elected and swiftly swore in Neil Gorsuch under a Republican-heavy Senate. Mitch McConnell got his way. “Order” for McConnell, would be getting his way again.
We should be patient and understanding when a politician changes course based on the voice of the people, but we should not be for a government that changes their mind only for their best interest. We should believe Joe Biden is sorry for what he did to Anita Hill in 1991. We should not believe that Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, and Lindsey Graham, can add nuance to their 2016 statements that we cannot elect a new Supreme Court Justice during an election year. That is a mind fueled by self-interest and power. What’s worst of all is that these politicians are well aware of this.
Make no mistake: forcing a Justice nomination while the West reels from recent wildfires, the country sustains a pandemic, and an election is mere weeks away, it must force Trump supporters and moderates to realize that the Trump Administration is not in the peoples’ best interest. This is not about vague Democratic decency or a Republican Law and Order. This is about taking the time to fill one of the highest honors in this country because it is necessary to do this for a decision of this caliber. It’s about due diligence and understanding the capacity of a lifelong appointment. Why can’t Republicans understand that? Why is it easier to get hired as a Supreme Court Justice than it is to get a job at Sunglass Hut? This is why we cannot nominate a new Justice before November 3rd.
To know Trump, McConnell, and Graham, is to know men with flimsy to hollow backbones. Trump, McConnell, and Graham do not care about the Courts, the People, or this nation’s strength, so they will move fast in the name of politics. Unfortunately, the only way to stop these 3 is for the Democrats of Decency to lace up and play good defense.