21 September 2020 - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Great Equalizer
Jill Lepore (The New Yorker, 18/09/2020)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, scholar, lawyer, judge, and Justice, died on Friday at the age of eighty-seven. Born the year Eleanor Roosevelt became First Lady, Ginsburg bore witness to, argued for, and helped to constitutionalize the most hard-fought and least-appreciated revolution in modern American history: the emancipation of women. Aside from Thurgood Marshall, no single American has so wholly advanced the cause of equality under the law.
The change Ginsburg ushered into American politics began a half century ago, and reckoning with its magnitude requires measuring the distance between now and then. At the time, only three in a hundred legal professionals and fewer than two hundred of the nation’s ten thousand judges were women. In 1971, as Richard Nixon prepared to make two appointments to the Supreme Court, he faced a dilemma. Yet another Southerner he’d tapped had been nixed for an opposition to desegregation, so Nixon decided to look for someone who was, preferably, not a racist. He considered naming a woman. “I’m not for women, frankly, in any job,” he told his aides, in a little fit of hysterics. “Thank God we don’t have any in the Cabinet.” He didn’t think women should be educated, or “ever be allowed to vote, even.” But, given the momentum of the women’s-rights movement, he conceded the political necessity of naming a woman to the bench: it might gain him a small but crucial number of votes in the upcoming election. “It’s like the Negro vote,” he said. “It’s a hell of a thing.” Then Chief Justice Warren Burger, in a similar huff, told Nixon that, if he were to nominate a woman, he’d resign. In the end, Nixon named Lewis Powell.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87
Linda Greenhouse (The New York Times, 18/09/2020)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights, who in her ninth decade became a much younger generation’s unlikely cultural icon, died on Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.
The cause was complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court said.
By the time two small tumors were found in one of her lungs in December 2018, during a follow-up scan for broken ribs suffered in a recent fall, Justice Ginsburg had beaten colon cancer in 1999 and early-stage pancreatic cancer 10 years later. She received a coronary stent to clear a blocked artery in 2014.
Ginsburg’s vision led us to a better America. We can do the same.
Goodwin Liu (The Washington Post, 20/09/2020)
If you are looking for inspiration while mourning the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I recommend her 1993 confirmation hearing. Her testimony provides a master class on our Constitution’s origins and how our nation has grown to become more inclusive and free.
Ginsburg introduced herself as “a Brooklynite, born and bred — a first-generation American on my father’s side, barely second-generation on my mother’s.” “What has become of me could happen only in America,” she said, reflecting on her modest upbringing by parents who lacked the means to attend college. “Like so many others, I owe so much to the entry this nation afforded to people yearning to breathe free.”
Washington Politics Could Be About To Enter A 'Post-Apocalyptic' Phase
Domenico Montanaro (NPR, 21/09/2020)
As if 2020 couldn't get any more politically contentious, a fight is underway over a Supreme Court vacancy — just 43 days until Election Day, and as Americans are already voting in some places during this election season.
Raising the stakes even more, this is not just any seat. It's the chair formerly held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal and feminist cultural icon.
While in the minority on the court, Ginsburg became known for her dissents, and, in many ways, she embodied the spirit and strength of the resistance to President Trump. She stood against the social and cultural shifts conservatives have started to implement with Trump's two picks making the high court majority conservative.
US Supreme Court: The top contenders to fill vacancy
(BBC News, 20/09/2020)
US President Donald Trump has said he will announce this week his candidate to fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon.
President Trump said his choice would be "a woman - a very talented, very brilliant woman". Two conservative candidates are seen as the main contenders for the lifelong job - but reports suggest some other names are also being considered.
The president has already appointed two justices for the court - Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. But with six weeks to go before the presidential election, Mr Trump is facing fierce opposition from Democrats, who insist any nomination should be made only after the poll.
Why the Supreme Court ended up with nine justices—and how that could change
Amy McKeever (National Geographic, 20/09/2020)
Nine justices make up the U.S. Supreme Court: one chief justice and eight associate justices. But it hasn’t always been this way. For the first 80 years of its existence, the Supreme Court fluctuated in size from as few as five to as many as 10 before settling at the current number in 1869. Here’s how the court ended up with nine justices—and how that could change.