Like so many in America and around the world today, I mourn the death of a genuine hero, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose decades as an attorney and Supreme Court Justice advanced human rights for everyone, most especially women. I recall reading that she was always amused by the frequent question from children visiting her at the Supreme Court: “Did you always know you wanted to be a judge?” When Ginsburg graduated at the top of her class from Columbia Law School in l959, no law firm in New York would hire her because she was a woman and gasp… a mother! How far we’ve come, and it’s in no small part due to this diminutive woman who was a giant in her field, an indefatigable fighter for gender equality.
She was also said to be extraordinarily gracious in her private life and held no grudges for those who vehemently disagreed with her. Despite their substantial ideological differences, she and the late Justice Antonin Scalia shared a close friendship and bonded over their mutual love of opera. They even celebrated New Year’s Eve together with their respective spouses.
I admit it. Not only am I not nearly as brilliant as RBG—I’m also not nearly as nice and open-minded. Take my feelings about Mitch McConnell, for example. Like Scalia and Ginsburg, we are ideological opposites. Believe me, I would no more want to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the guy than I would be inclined to sign up for a mask-less “let’s spread the virus” Trump rally.
Senator McConnell didn’t even give us two hours to mourn the death of RBG before he announced his plans to jam through Trump’s pick for her replacement. Never mind that McConnell refused to even give President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, a hearing—let alone a vote, 269 days before the end of President Obama’s presidency. At that time, McConnell claimed that with an upcoming election, the American people should have a say in who gets to be on the Supreme Court. Miraculously, in his eyes, it no longer matters what the American people think, or that Biden appears poised to be voted in as our next President.
The lack of decency, honesty, and fair play is astounding, as is his complete and total hypocrisy, only the latest in a long line of political power maneuvers that have nothing to do with the needs of the citizens he pledged to serve.
Do I sound bitter? Angry? Do I hold grudges? You bet!
But what it does is energize me and the millions of others who value the legacy of RBG and John Lewis, titans of justice we’ve lost in the last year, to work harder to replace so-called leaders like McConnell with the real deal. We’ll work to elect folks who genuinely want to serve with compassion, honesty, and integrity on behalf of all of the American people.
Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish was that her replacement not be chosen until a new president was installed.
We can only hope. We will never forget. Rest in peace, RBG.