Maggie Connolly ‘21
Chief Opinions Editor
Last Friday, we lost an icon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg paved the way for women in this country and beyond. She was the second woman to ever serve on the United States Supreme Court. She was a part of countless famous rulings, including the right to attend any public university regardless of gender, the right to same-sex marriage, and one of her most famous: the right to a fair wage as a woman.
RBG’s legacy cannot and should not be forgotten, but unsurprisingly, Donald Trump is already trying to use her passing as an opportunity for political gain. Of course, it is commonplace to nominate another justice in wake of one passing, but the last time this situation presented itself, Republicans, namely Mitch McConnell, decided the “American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.” McConnell issued this statement eleven months before Obama was replaced.
Senator Lindsey Graham had a similar sentiment in 2016 when President Obama went ahead with the nomination of Merrick Garland despite the Senate Judiciary Committee’s promise to refuse to hold hearings on any Scalia replacement. Graham stated that it was of the utmost importance not to confirm any members of the court in an election year.
In the video that has gone viral in the wake of RBG’s death, Graham is caught saying, “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”
Graham has since tweeted that he will support a nominee from Trump “in light of two events.” He cited Harry Reid invoking the nuclear option to allow a simple majority in the Senate to appoint Circuit Court judges without a Republican filibuster and Chuck Schumer and his “friends in the liberal media” conspiring to “destroy the life of Brett Kavanagh and hold that Supreme Court seat open.” As if Brett Kavanagh did not destroy the life of Christine Blasey Ford and the other women he sexually assaulted… right Lindsey Graham?
When President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, there were 237 days until Donald Trump would be elected president. Today, as you are reading this, there are 39 days until the election. It has become, in light of Graham, McConnell, and other prominent Republicans’ decisions and opinions in 2016, an issue of logic. Lindsey Graham publicly told people, people being Democrats, to use his words against him. He asked the American people to hold him to his word. That is what we are doing. Donald Trump has already appointed a judge that has voted on multiple occasions to put the most marginalized lives in the United States at risk and put the lives and well-being of multiple women throughout his lifetime at risk. I cannot, we cannot, let him appoint another judge of the likes of him.
It is the responsibility of Democratic and Republican senators alike to recognize the urgent need for change in this country. Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not fight through pancreatic cancer to let Donald Trump choose her replacement. Donald Trump and his GOP cohort cannot and should not be allowed to taint the legacy of RBG – so vote like your life depends on it. Ruth’s did.
Photo courtesy of PBS.