RBG’s Death: What It Means for Feminism and America’s Future

Written by: Mariah

Edited by: Joaquin

Visual by: Solenne

Grief struck millions of women and girls around the world when they heard that their hero and role model, US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had passed away. The respected jurist and feminist died at the age of 87 last September 18th due to metastatic pancreatic cancer. All over the United States, memorials were held in her honor, acknowledging her passionate causes and courageous dissents that earned women equal rights in America.

Ginsburg’s outspokenness has greatly influenced public opinion and daily life. Due to her efforts, women gained more economic privileges and opportunities, such as the ability to handle their families’ financial assets without needing a husband’s consent. Women earned the freedom to choose their jobs and family roles. Ginsburg has also influenced Americans to envision different versions of family life, emphasizing that one can be flexible with their gender roles as they wish. She had also influenced American pop culture in her later life, becoming a symbol of feminism on t-shirts and posters.

Ginsburg’s dying wish is that she does not want a new Justice to be appointed until after the winner of the November elections is sworn in. Three days after her death, however, Republican President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next Justice. “Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me,” Barrett stated after Trump’s announcement. “Justice Ginsburg began her career at a time when women were not welcome in the legal profession, but she not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them.”

Republicans are thrilled about Trump’s decision, saying that Barrett “represents the best of America.” On the other hand, Democrats criticized it, arguing that the nomination could attack the Affordable Care Act and weaken women’s reproductive rights. The new court’s future decisions would impact healthcare, voting, reproductive, and worker rights. Meanwhile, arguments are brewing from both sides about whether or not a new Justice should be appointed before the elections. The same dilemma also occurred after former Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, who died shortly before the 2016 elections. Incidentally, Scalia was also a close friend of Ginsburg, despite their contrasting political views. He was also a mentor to Barrett, who shares his conservative philosophies and will likewise take the same approach to the law as Scalia did.

Amy Coney Barrett is no Ginsburg. Although Barrett has exemplary intellectual credentials, she also has views that contrast Ginsburg’s, especially about abortion rights. Barrett, who holds both Catholic and conservative views, has written that abortion is “always immoral” and joined two dissents against this issue. Abortion rights could be banned under Barrett’s authority, denying women the liberty to control their own bodies. Aside from that, Barrett’s critical views towards the Affordable Care Act could negatively impact the American population. Abolishing the ACA would strip millions of Americans of health insurance and its guaranteed protections. Barrett’s crucial votes in cases could undo decades of the progress that Ginsburg has worked to achieve.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left her fingerprints all over Americans’ daily lives, from women’s rights to “I dissent” memes and slogans. Although the American government is still divided about her successor, everyone is united in saying that Ginsburg has truly left their country better than it was before. As for Judge Barrett, if she does get appointed as the new Justice, the future of America and the lives of millions of females depend on her decisions.

Sources:

Bazelon, Lara. “Opinion | Amy Coney Barrett Is No Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” The New York Times,

A.G. Sulzberger, 26 Sept. 2020.

Newburger, Emma. “Amy Coney Barrett Pays Homage to Conservative Mentor Antonin Scalia —

‘His Judicial Philosophy Is Mine Too.’” CNBC. CNBC, 26 Sept. 2020.

Pinsker, Joe. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy Can Be Found in Everyday Life.The Atlantic. The

Atlantic, 23 Sept. 2020.

Quinn, Melissa. “Amy Coney Barrett Pays Tribute to Justice Ginsburg after Announced as Supreme

Court Nominee.” CBS News Cbsnews.com., Simon & Schuster, 27 Sept. 2020.

Relman, Eliza. “Trump Picks Judge Amy Coney Barrett to Replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court

– Business Insider.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 26 Sept. 2020.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia.org., Wikimedia Foundation, 2020.