The recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has certainly raised questions pertaining to the outlook and trajectory of the nation. Justice Ginsburg is often revered as a political icon, promoting issues of social and economic justice, as well as human rights interests as well. With the ever-present hostility within the political arena, the loss of Justice Ginsburg has increasingly polarized the parties about whether or not a judicial appointment is acceptable this close to the presidential election. As a litigator and a member of the highest Judicial court in the nation, RBG has consistently pioneered for women's rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community throughout the entirety of her career. Lingering questions about the legality of many of these important policies remains an issue of concern for marginalized populations across the nation, especially if a new justice is appointed by the current administration.
Various citizens of all walks of life could see their legal protections scrutinized or attacked if an appointment to the court is successful. As a litigator, she fought timelessly for the end of gender-based discriminatory practices at every arena and institution. She continued her push for gender equality as she maintained her position on the Supreme Court, voting to uphold reproductive health care rights for women and collaborated with President Obama on the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act. Moreover, she was also a consistent voice on the bench continuously voting in favor of expanding the rights of the LGBTQ community. Her absence on the bench will surely threaten many of the freedoms people assume today, including the ones enacted as a direct result of Justice Ginsburg’s work.
Moreover, the issue of health care access and the future of the Affordable Care Act is also susceptible to attacks and threats as well. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments pertaining to repealing the ACA the week after the Presidential election, and those relying on the policy’s ability to provide affordable health care coverage could find themselves in quite a predicament if the conservative leaning court chooses to repeal it. People who feel a strong sense of anxiousness or nervousness about the future of the freedoms we enjoy today are completely valid. There is an indescribable amount of uncertainty pertaining to the futuristic state of the Supreme Court, and there is no right way or wrong way to feel.
Overall, along with the overwhelming feeling of sadness due to the loss of one of the most notable and incredible feminist leaders throughout the political history of the nation, I feel extremely grateful. That is, grateful to have been a young woman in the United States with a passion and love for politics and social justice and have someone so remarkable to look up to. I cannot even imagine the pain her family and friends must feel at this moment. Justice Ginsburg dedicated her life to her work and service on the court, and is often remembered for working through bouts of chemotherapy, her husband’s illness, and even immediately after his death as well. She was respected and admired by colleagues on both sides of the political spectrum. On her death bed she requested one thing, that she not be replaced until a new president is inaugurated. As someone who dedicated her entire life to the betterment and service of the United States people, it seems unreasonable to ignore this simple request. However, efforts to expedite the process of filling her seat seem to persist.
In honor of her legacy and remarkable career promoting justice and equality, I want to incorporate my favorite quote by Justice Ginsburg that encapsulates the continuing efforts of social workers worldwide.
“If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside of yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is - living not for oneself, but for one’s community.” - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
May peace be upon her.
By: Karyn Kovalick
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2020 Spring Semester blog posts are written by Jennifer Nacapuy. 2018-2019 Academic Year blog posts are written by Sruthi Vijayakumar & Cynthia Macey. 2017-2018 blog posts were written by Holly Arroyo & Jenalyn Camagong