By the time you read this, it will no longer be breaking news that one of the cancers which has plagued Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has returned. Thankfully, she has declared her intention to remain on the court and, prayerfully, her longevity will extend well beyond the January 2021 presidential inauguration. I have no doubt that if, before then, she should no longer be able to fulfill her responsibilities as an associate justice, Mitch McConnell would attempt to push a Supreme Court nominee through Senate confirmation with mercurial speed.
Justice Ginsberg has proven herself to be a woman of character, strength, integrity and endurance. Her judicial decisions have identified her as a champion of the people and a staunch proponent of real justice. “The Notorious RBG” has been a force for equal rights and justice for decades — long before her confirmation to the Supreme Court. I can only assume that her commitment to women’s rights, civil rights and rights for the LGBQT community is based upon her experiences as a victim of discrimination. For all citizens of conscience, the news of the recidivism of her cancer should be met with deep regret and, especially for political progressives, provides one more reason to vote against #45!
Justice Ginsberg’s decisions and declarations from the bench have commonly met the test of practicality and good judgment. For me, her most notable quote referenced SCOTUS’s 2013 dissolution of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In her dissent, she wrote: “The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the [Voting Rights Act] has proven effective Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
With the 2020 election and the prospect of a new administration in 2021, the health and well-being of Justice Ginsberg loom large. Notably, she is one-fourth of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court. She’s reliable in her support for liberal positions of jurisprudence. Her decisions have always been based upon protections and greater inclusiveness for individuals without regard to race, gender or gender identification. Current administration and Senate dispositions guarantee that any replacement for her would hold a judicial philosophy that was diametrically opposed to hers and would work to reverse many of the hard-won civil rights gains of the past 50 years.
Understanding this gives us one more reason to vote. Although we specifically vote for president and vice president in a national election, our vote for them means so much more. This is demonstrated by the election of #45, and his supporting cast in the Senate.
Many, even his niece, Mary Trump, have labeled #45 a virulent racist, but he’s not the only one in the White House. Stephen Miller, the identified architect of the Muslim Ban and Family Separation/Border Detention, has been identified as a racist in the ilk of his president.
Over 20,000 times, #45 has been a documented liar. I have watched innumerable cabinet members and members of the executive staff, who serve on the inside of the administration’s revolving door, lie with the same vigor as their chief. In reflection, we have generously paid three consecutive press secretaries to lie to us whenever and however “the boss” determined it necessary. And they aren’t the only ones!
We should not need a reason to vote beyond our civic responsibility; but, with #45’s lies and self-promotion, his mismanagement of COVID-19, the growth and his promotion of racial injustice, and, now, the potential for molding the Supreme Court in his malignant image, we must vote. Voting must be a personal and collective imperative!
Williams is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.