Her name has been mentioned in every headline, on every news channel, and her memes have been all over social media. The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is apparently a big deal so you know I had to do my research and find out why. I already knew that she played a big part in the Women’s Movement during the 1970s, fighting gender based discrimination to put women on the exact same playing field as men. What I didn’t know is that she followed Thurgood Marshall’s blueprint in his fight for equal protection of the law for Blacks. In fact, she was described as the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s movement as she emulated his work as a legal strategist.
Like Marshall, Ginsburg led a key legal advocacy group whose court victories helped fuel the 20th century Rights Revolution. He was a staff lawyer and later named chief of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund; she was founder and leader of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project. Marshall’s strategy of using the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to confront discrimination was also used by Ginsburg to convince the Supreme Court that it also applied to women. Marshall argued a record-breaking 32 Supreme Court cases with 29 victories before being appointed to the bench. His most notable being the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954); Ginsburg argued six landmark cases. He led the effort to secure racial equality and she sought to do the same for gender equality.
Now the most interesting thing about the Notorious RBG’s recent passing is the fact that Donald Trump (Obama is still my president) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are racing to replace the liberal justice with his third conservative appointment. Remember, court justices serve open-ended terms so there’s no doubt that this move will impact the decisions on abortion rights, voting rights, and so many other issues for decades to come. And what about that hypocrite McConnell? Refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee in 2016 due to it being an election year—that seat remained vacant until after Trump’s victory. He’s already declared that Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the Senate floor, possibly cementing the conservative majority. I can just imagine the conversation between the two!
Pinky: “Gee Brain, what are we gonna do tonight?”
Brain: “The same thing we do every night, try to take over the world!”
But in all seriousness, there’s a lot at stake in the 2020 presidential election. We’re already standing on shaky ground from the coronavirus pandemic and racial unrest. We need a change and this is a call to action.
To ensure that our vote counts in the upcoming election, it’s imperative that we make sure first and foremost registered to vote. You can check your status by visiting change.org. Californian’s can verify their voter registration by visiting voterstatus.sos.ca.gov. If you haven’t registered, there’s still time. Election Day is November 3, 2020.
Also, if you are voting by mail via absentee ballot, make sure you send it off early because there’s a lot of shenanigans going on with the United States Postal Service! I’m personally taking mine to the drop box at my local polling place. Californian’s can find their polling place locations on the Secretary of State website at sos.ca.gov.
Photograph by Sebastian Kim / Courtesy of The New Yorker