A stalwart of the United States Supreme Court, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, breathed her last on the 18th of September 2020 at the age of 87 after prolonged illness. The second woman to have ever served on the highest Court of the United States, she was nominated by former US President Bill Clinton.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hailed as a feminist icon and has been awarded with numerous honours during her great and cherished life. Condolences poured from across the political spectrum, in deference of her vast accomplishments. POTUS Donald Trump said in a statement mourning her death, “Renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable towards one’s colleague or different points of view.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, however, has passed away at a time when the two political wings of the country hardly agree over anything. Her death has opened up a vacant spot in the Supreme Court which, if Donald Trump proceeds with nominating another person before the November elections, would create space for the worst kind of politics.
The nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh witnessed the politicisation of sex crimes and with so few days remaining for the election, if Republicans do decide to move forward with the appointment process, it would open up a can of worms. But that is precisely what promises to be in store for the country. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that there will be a vote on what would be Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court pick after Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh.
McConnell said, “Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Meanwhile, ‘journalists’ are already ‘warning’ that there will be riots if Mitch McConnell forces through a Supreme Court appointment, then there will be riots. One of the most ‘journalists’ to make that declaration is Laura Bassett, whose columns appear in platforms such as the Washington Post and Rolling Stone.
American-Iranian scholar Reza Aslan voiced similar sentiments although he did not bother to be subtle about it. Interestingly enough, the clear incitement to violence does not appear to have violated Twitter’s terms and conditions. The same platform had censored Donald Trump for a tweet where the US President vowed to impose law and order.
Beau Willimion, president of the Writers Guild of America, East, declared that they were “shutting down this country” if a Supreme Court appointment is made before the elections. Brad Willock, another writer and producer, threatened “massive protests and unrest”.
Riots have already been underway all over the United States ever since the death of George Floyd. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has thrown further chaos into the mix and has created the potential for more riots. The appointments in Courts have become an extremely political issue in recent times as Justices often interpret the law consistent with the liberal or conservative predilections.
Therefore, Supreme Court appointments are of great significance. Furthermore, since appointments to Supreme Court are for life, it has profound impact on the political future of the country. Thus, such appointments have become the battleground for ideological warfare as the United States becomes more polarised.
It is pertinent to mention here that in the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, the Republican Senate blocked his nominee to the Supreme Court saying that the incoming US President should fill the vacancy and American voters should have a say in the matter. Now, Mitch McConnell argued that during the mid-term elections, the Republican majority in the Senate was increased which is valid evidence of the mood of the public.
Thus, it is justified to move forward with filling the vacancy left behind by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell argued. Such arguments are unlikely to find any favour among the Democrats and their voters and in recent times, they have demonstrated an inclination to use violence to achieve political objectives. With elections due in November, United States might be headed for a period of great turmoil.