Honoring Her Legacy

Following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it is improper and hypocritical for her seat to be filled before election day.



Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at a public conversation at the University of Chicago on Sept. 9, 2019.

Sofia Aguayo, Features Editor

When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Sept. 18, a national debate arose over whether her seat be filled just weeks before election day, or if President Donald Trump should wait for the newly elected president to decide who takes the place of this renowned heroine. Some of her last words spoken to her granddaughter showed that her “most feverish wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Just a few days after her statement, Trump already nominated a new woman to take her place. Taking everything into consideration, Ginsburg’s seat should be filled after the 2020 election for the unity of our nation and to fulfill her dying wish. 

Born in 1933 in New York, Ginsburg has left an important mark on the country and is a perfect example of how hard work and determination can make a difference. Known for her passion for women’s rights and gender equality, she broke many barriers throughout her life fighting for what is right and has made the world a better place for everyone, but especially women, through her long-lasting career. Before serving on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg taught at Rutgers University Law School and was the first female tenured professor at Columbia University. In the 1970s, she also served as the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and she argued six important sex-discrimination cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, five of which she won. In 1980, she was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia until she later became the second female justice in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993 and continued to serve in that position until her recent death.

President Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett walk away from the Oval Office before Trump introduces her as his choice to be the new Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS) (TNS)

If Trump’s pick, Amy Coney Barrett, replaces Ginsburg as the new Justice, the five to four conservative majority on the Supreme Court will then be turned into six to three. This switch could alter the Court’s opinions and rulings on issues such as abortion, gay rights and healthcare. There is also a lot of disagreement and controversy on Trump’s decision to pick a woman in order to “honor” Ginsburg’s legacy and her life-long fight for women’s rights. His decision gives off the impression that one woman is as good as any other, which, especially in this case, is far from the truth. The reason for this decision makes even less sense when one takes into account that Barrett does not support a lot of the causes that Ginsburg worked for during her entire career, most notably upholding Roe v. Wade and the American Care Act. Barrett would be unravelling everything Ginsburg devoted her life towards achieving. And all this just so Trump could maintain his “respect” to her through not replacing her with a man. 


Along with affecting the Supreme Court’s balance and therefore views on different topics, the replacement of Ginsburg before the presidential election might also affect how people vote in the election. In honor of her life and her last wish of not wanting to be replaced until the election, many people may end up voting for Biden because of his shared views with Ginsburg, but also maybe because they think it was a terrible decision for Trump to replace her, especially with Barrett. Another reason why Trump should wait until the upcoming election to have someone take her place is because of what happened with former President Barack Obama in 2016. Many may not remember, but Senate Republicans denied President Obama the chance to replace Justice Antonin Scalia when there were, not three, but 11 months left in Obama’s term. Trump trying to justify his rushed and hypocritical replacement of a woman who made history in the United States government by just replacing her with a woman is nonsensical and, in a way, slightly misogynistic by thinking that all women are the same. This replacement of the widely beloved Ginsburg by a woman who has opposite beliefs and backgrounds is not enough to soften the blow that what President Trump is doing should be delayed until the election.

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Junior Elizabeth Nordhus honored Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg through her art work after her passing Sept. 18. Ginsburg was known for her accomplishments as an advocate against gender discrimination – revolutionizing feminism and opening the door for future generations of women lawyers and judges. “I think Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a very composed, thoughtful woman who acted with dignity when fighting for what she genuinely thought was right. There is something very respectable about a person who is able to be so passionate about their own beliefs while still maintaining an amount of compassionate professionalism towards people who might hold opposite ones.” Art submitted by Elizabeth Nordhus.

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Ginsburg will be missed dearly. Her absence will be felt in this country for a long time. The time she devoted to fight for her ideas and beliefs in order to make the world a better place for future generations is incredible and unlike anyone other woman the US government has seen. In honor of her dying wish, her legacy, and the more equal balancing of the Supreme Court, President Trump should wait to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice and let whoever wins the quickly up and coming presidential election decide who will fill her seat.