Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Justice of the United States Supreme Court and icon of women's rights dies at 87

 

Ruth Bader GinsburgImage copyrightTHE WASHINGTON POST
Image captionRGB is the oldest judge on the highest court in the United States.

The Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg, icon of the defense of women's rights, died on Friday of pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg, 87, died in her Washington home surrounded by her family, according to the Supreme Court.

"Our nation loses a jurist of historic stature," Chief High Court Judge John Roberts said in a statement.

"On the Supreme Court we have lost a beloved colleague. Today we are in mourning but with the certainty that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a staunch defender of justice ."

President Donald Trump was surprised with the news by journalists after an event in his election campaign, who he said was "an incredible woman who lived an incredible life."

Shortly after, the US president published a statement on Twitter in which he lamented the loss of "a titan of law."

"Renowned for her brilliant mind," Trump describes her, adding that "it showed that one can disagree without being disagreeable towards colleagues or different points of view," he wrote.

Conservative control in the Supreme Court

Because of her work as a defender of women's rights , Ginsburg was a symbol for progressives in the United States.

Now, with his death, the conservative majority in the Supreme Court could be strengthened.

Of the nine judges who make up the highest American court, there were four progressives and five conservatives.

RBGImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionRBG has become the most dissident voice in the United States Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election in the elections on November 3, has already appointed two judges, Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

And on September 10, he announced an update to his list of 20 potential candidates, which included three Republican senators: Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

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ANALYSIS BY ANTHONY ZURCHER, BBC CORRESPONDENT IN WASHINGTON

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg injected a certain level of unpredictability into an election campaign that had remained remarkably stable for months.

Now not only is the White House at stake in the November elections, but also the ideological balance of the Supreme Court.

It all depends on what Donald Trump and the Republicans decide to do from now on . They could try to name the replacement before the end of the year - regardless of who wins the election - and replace a liberal icon with a trusted conservative judge.

Or they could wait and leave the seat vacant during the election, thereby encouraging conservative voters - particularly evangelicals who see an opportunity to eliminate the right to abortion - to flock to vote for president.

If they name the replacement, this will outrage Democrats, who recall that former President Barack Obama tried unsuccessfully for months in 2016 to get the Senate to even consider the candidate he had nominated.

If they wait, on the other hand, they risk Joe Biden appointing Ginsburg's replacement in 2021.

Everything indicates that they will opt for the first. Concern that it is an exercise in hypocrisy will fade when what is at stake is a lifetime appointment.

Either way, a brutal political battle is already served at a time when the country is already deeply divided by political partisanship.

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The replacement of RBG, as it is known in American popular culture, will require confirmation from the Senate, a chamber controlled by Republicans.

And the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, announced this Friday that the upper house will vote for the president's nominee despite the proximity of the elections .

This was confirmed by McConnell, architect of the Senate not voting on Obama's nominee because the former president was in his last year, in a statement issued shortly after Ginsburg's death was known.

Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas and one of the names on Trump's candidate list, told Fox News that Trump should name his candidate next week.

"It is critically important that the Senate confirms this before Election Day," he added.

Liberal icon

Born in New York in 1933 to Jewish immigrant parents, Ginsburg became the second woman to become a Supreme Court Justice after being nominated in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

She reached the high court after having earned a reputation as a centrist in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where she had arrived in 1980 nominated by President Jimmy Carter.

And it is that he had voted with the conservatives many times, for example, when he refused to listen to the case of discrimination of a soldier who said that he had been discharged from the Navy for being homosexual.

RBGImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe jabots on the tunic are another of the elements that RBG has popularized.

One of his most important and earliest cases in Court was called United States v. Virginia, which overruled the all-male admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute.

Explaining her decision, Ginsburg argued that no law or policy should deny women "full citizenship, the same opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate and contribute to society based on their individual talents and abilities."

As the Court has become more conservative, Ginsburg has moved more and more to the left and became famous for her ardent dissent from the rest of the justices.

Many aspects of Ginsburg's life have become a subject of fascination on the internet. His style, his fondness for lace gloves and his elaborate jabots, the collars he wears over his tunics, or his famous "breakaway necklace" are celebrated online.

Biographical books and films have been made about her, and her image appears on T-shirts, coffee mugs and even Halloween costumes.

Her life inspired, for example, the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex about her work in the fight against discrimination against women.

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