By GNT Staff from Wire Reports
WASHINGTON — In the hours and days following the death of the nation’s second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, politician after elected official lauded her for helping advance the rights of women and others.
Meanwhile, a key group of millions remained silent. They are the estimated 25-30 million babies whose lives – and voices – were cut down by abortioners in America since 1993, when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as an associate justice.
“No doubt, somewhere along the way, Ruth was pursuing what she thought was good,” said Barth E. Bracy, Executive Director, Rhode Island Right to Life, a non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-profit right-to-life organization founded in 1969 in Rhode Island. “But unfortunately, she was tragically mistaken. She was wrong. She was pursuing evil, even if she thought what she was pursuing was good. To take a human life is objectively an evil thing.”
Ginsburg, 87, died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a press release.
Ginsburg announced in July she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer beginning in 1999. Other health problems included falls resulting in broken ribs, insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery and assorted other hospitalizations after she turned 75.
She was known by Supreme Court staffers to exercise a privilege granted justices to move to the head of the lunch line when there was a wait.
“She was – as Mrs. (Melania) Trump said – tenacious and a fighter up to the end,” said Bob Lancia, the former pastor, Navy Chaplain and Rhode Island lawmaker challenging incumbent Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., in that state’s 2nd Congressional District. “You have to applaud anybody who would fight up to the end.”
Ginsburg had resisted calls by liberals to retire during Barack Obama’s presidency at a time when Democrats held the Senate and a replacement with similar views could have been confirmed. More recently, Ginsburg had told family she wished to remain on the high court until Trump’s presidency had ended.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed,” she dictated in the days before her death to her granddaughter Clara Spera, according to National Public Radio.
However, while Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court was for life, or until she resigned, she has no hold on her seat in death. When she met her Maker and ultimate Judge before sundown and the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath Sept. 18, that power passed from the hands of a member of the Judicial Branch back to the Executive Branch, and President Donald J. Trump.
Trump quickly announced plans to nominate a successor to be considered by the Republican-controlled Senate. If he does so, it would be his third nomination to the high court since he took office, in January 2017.
Ginsburg spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s liberal wing and had her admirers. Young women especially seemed to embrace the court’s Jewish grandmother for her defense of the rights of women, minorities, the disabled, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.
“She was an incredibly principled person, a very hard worker,” said Scott T. Spear, a partner at Blish & Cavanagh in Providence, R.I. She maintained a high level of dignity and was able to avoid the trappings of a social icon by moderating herself in the public’s eye. She didn’t allow celebrity in any way to affect her.”
Joan Ruth Bader had humble beginnings, born in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 15, 1933, the second daughter in a middle-class family. Her older sister, who nicknamed her “Kiki” died at age 6, so Ginsburg grew up in the city’s Flatbush section as an only child. She had said her dream was to be an opera singer, and she was a frequent patron to the art, a love she shared with her former colleague and close friend on the high court, Antonin Scalia. Scalia died in 2016.
She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954, the same year she earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. She then enrolled in Harvard Law School at a time when few women entered the legal profession as lawyers or jurists. She was one of nine women in a class of about 500.
When her husband, also a lawyer, moved to New York for a job, she transferred to Columbia University Law School and went on to graduate at the top of her class, in 1959. But she could not find a law firm willing to hire her. She said in 2007 she had “three strikes against her” – being Jewish, a woman and a mother.
She went on to serve as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Edmund L. Palmieri, in the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and, then, associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure.
She became a law professor at Rutgers University School of Law in 1963, a position she held until she joined Columbia Law School’s faculty in 1972. There she stayed until 1980, when she was appointed to be a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge for the District of Columbia.
She was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1971 and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973 to 1980, then on the National Board of Directors, from 1974 to 1980.
During her tenure at Columbia, she also served as a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, in Stanford, Calif., from 1977 to 1978. During her more than 40 years as a Judge and a Justice, she was served by 159 law clerks.
While Ginsburg wasn’t on the Supreme Court when it ruled in the landmark Roe v. Wade and the companion Doe v. Bolton, legalizing abortion in 1973, she joined the liberal wing of the court in handing down several decisions protecting abortions in America, listed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as:
- Hill v. Colorado (2000), where the high court upheld a Colorado law banning sidewalk counseling within 100 feet of a “health care facility,” including an abortion clinic. The law made it illegal to approach within 8 feet of a person to counsel, educate, show a sign or pass out a leaflet. It was a complete reversal of First Amendment case law when the Supreme Court found it constitutional to protect listeners from unwanted communication, being content neutral, and having a reasonable restriction on time, place, and manner;
- Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), with the Court ruling unconstitutional Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion. The Court cited two grounds for striking down Nebraska’s law (and, by implication more than two dozen similar laws in other similar states): the absence of an exception to the ban for the “health of the mother” and what the Court called a “vague” description of the partial-birth abortion procedure that could potentially include other mid- and late-term abortion procedures; and
- Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, also known as H.B. 2 (2016), where she was one of the justices to strike down in a 5-3 vote Texas’ Omnibus Abortion Bill that tightened regulations on abortion providers, which included a requirement that doctors performing the abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that clinics meet the same requirements as surgical outpatient centers.
In her concurring opinion to Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s official majority opinion, she made it clear the liberal majority on the Court wanted no further challenges to abortion providers through laws supporting the interests of preborn babies.
“We don’t rejoice in anybody’s death,” Bracy said. “We’re praying that God will have mercy on the soul of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
Predeceased by her husband, Ginsburg is survived by two children, Jane and James and several grandchildren. A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.
From Staff and Wire Reports
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – To nominate, or not to nominate before the Election: That has been the question since news of the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reached America’s ears. The answers almost certainly divide straight down the political aisle.
But one local legal observer – who himself has practiced law for 36 years – called all the jockeying “political calculations” and said there’s only one consideration that presides.
“The Constitution,” said Scott T. Spear, partner at Blish & Cavanagh. “That is the only rule that’s in play, and the Constitution gives the President the power and drives the process in the Senate. Nothing else matters.”
He also spoke about the idea of Democrats “packing the court” – expanding its ranks to include more justices so it can have a majority, an idea Ginsburg herself eschewed and that erodes the individual rights of the people by giving even more of them to a small, select group of people.
He pointed to 32nd to do just that when Roosevelt wanted to push through progressive policies during his tenure as America’s chief executive, from 1933 through his death, in 1945.
“He thought the Supreme Court should no longer be standing in the way of his goals, based on the law,” Spear said. “He wanted to get legislation that would get more members on the Supreme Court to render a decision favorable to him. That sentiment is what’s bringing energy to the debate today: stacking the Supreme Court with people who vote purely on an agenda versus based on the law.”
Given the nail-biting presidential race between Republican incumbent Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, it was no surprise Democrats began crying for a deferral of the nomination and confirmation hearings after learning of Ginsburg’s death.
What did shock many was how quickly Democrats’ calls for postponement came.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer hadn’t even honored Ginsburg with memories or offered condolences when he tweeted, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
Contrast that to the reaction of President Donald J. Trump, who was on the platform at a campaign rally in Minnesota, when news of Ginsburg’s death began breaking.
Learning of Ginsburg’s passing as he was about to board Air Force 1, Trump responded, “She just died?” he asked. “Wow. I didn’t know that. I just – you’re telling me now for the first time.”
Trump, who had just told the rally crowd how important Supreme Court appointments would be in the next four years, paused before offering, “She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman. Whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I’m actually saddened to hear that. I am saddened to hear that.”
As of press time, it was unclear at precisely what time Ginsburg died. At least one breaking news account posted at 4:34 p.m., Sept. 18, shows Schumer’s 7:51 p.m. tweet politicizing the event came at least three to four hours following the first reports of her death – and he didn’t mention her by name.
Over the next couple days, Democratic senators – including, Massachusetts’ Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed – quickly queued in the party line, vowing to do all they could to stonewall a nomination and confirmation.
But in Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, it’s clear the president has the “power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: But the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.”
This is why he was elected,” said Barth E. Bracy, Executive Director, Rhode Island Right to Life“ a non-sectarian, non-partisan and non-profit right-to-life group founded in 1969. “A lot of people voted for him specifically, precisely because of the Supreme Court.”
While Democrats want the nomination and confirmation hearings tabled until after the election – they say so people can participate in the nomination – Americans like Bracy note that not only have U.S. citizens participated in this nomination, but also, they’ve done so – twice.
In the 2016 presidential election, voters selected Trump as president, installing him in office for a four-year term. That term has not ended. It will not conclude until well after Election Day. That same election cycle, voters also elected a majority of Republicans to run the U.S. Senate.
And in 2018, voters affirmed Trump’s leadership by returning a Republican majority to the 100-seat Senate, Bracy noted. “They have an obligation, mandate and duty,” Bracy said. “It would be a betrayal of, a dereliction of duty if they don’t nominate and confirm a new justice.”
The day after Ginsburg died, Trump tweeted his plans to nominate a successor for the seat she held for 27 years, since 1993. “We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices, ” Trump tweeted. “We have this obligation, without delay!”
Ginsburg’s death came with only 46 days remaining to the election. But Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he will bring Trump’s nominee before the Senate for hearings. This seems to conflict with his previous stance under President Barack Obama’s administration. But where Democrats see hypocrisy in McConnell moving Trump’s nomination forward when he blocked Obama’s, others see pragmatism.
“The thing that people are missing in this issue is that people have elected the president, and they have elected senators who are aligned with the same party,” Spear said. “If the president was one party, and the Senate was a different party, and the president’s nomination would never get through the Senate – that’s a different equation.”
But unlike the previous power structure under Obama in 2016, the road to replace Ginsburg is much smoother with the same party in power in the Oval Office and the Senate under Trump, in 2020. Obama, a Democrat, was going to clash with the Republican-led Senate in his final lame-duck year of his second term when he moved to replace former Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died. McConnell was telling Obama his nominee would never stand a chance in the Senate.
Democrats also seem to be forgetting that what they’ve called McConnell’s Rule – the premise McConnell used to block Obama’s nominee in 2016 – was originally Joe Biden’s Rule. In the 1992 – also an election year – then-Sen. Biden made a speech from the floor of the Senate vehemently opposing the idea of holding confirmation hearings for prospective justices. Incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush was running for re-election against Bill Clinton that year.
Biden’s stance in 1992 paved the way for McConnell to cite the “Biden Rule” in March 2016, when Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. By then, Biden was Obama’s Democratic vice president. In a radical departure from that 1992 speech, Biden argued for the 2016 Senate to consider the Supreme Court nomination in the midst of an election season.
This has complicated the Democrats’ efforts to derail the Republicans’ stated plan to proceed with Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg.
While Spear has been concerned over the departure of the Supreme Court from its Constitutional moorings in recent years to more political ends in both rulings and nomination process, he was optimistic that Trump would continue his track record of looking for good lawyers and jurists to sit on the nation’s highest court.
“I think Trump has done a remarkable job selecting the type of judges Christians would want on the bench and who will stay true to the same process he has used in the past,” Spear said.