As the United States mourns the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court who passed away on Sept. 18, many of us are left wondering: what now?
Ginsburg’s successes in reproductive rights and equality in the workplace are important to students because they give us ownership over our bodies and the respect we deserve as we enter the workforce after graduation.
While millennials and Generation Z are determined to unite and continue the fight she started 27 years ago, the justice who takes her place on the Supreme Court could pose a threat to the communities Ginsburg swore to protect. Ginsburg took a step forward, and I am concerned the next Supreme Court justice will take two steps back.
Ginsburg’s dying wish was that her replacement not be picked until after the election, CNBC News reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative federal appeals court judge, on Sept. 26, just over one week after Ginsburg’s death, CNN reported.
Kishan Patel, a senior biology and Spanish major, said the Senate should wait to confirm a justice based on principle because the 2020 presidential election is already underway.
“People in states across the country are already voting, and this election is the only way for the American public to have a say in who can become a Supreme Court justice,” Patel added.
Barrett is only 48 years old, and the role is a lifelong position. The laws she upholds will have ramifications not only for us but also for our children. Therefore, we cannot let Ginsburg’s work be in vain, and we must honor her legacy by voting in this year’s election.
James Calcagni, a junior mechanical engineering major, is dreading the outcome of this nomination process.
“I’m a little nervous about what will happen next,” he said. “These nine people have more power over the way we live than anyone else.”
Of the eight current justices, five are Republican, FiveThirtyEight reported.
Without Ginsburg there to fight for the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, a six-to-three ratio will tip it over.
Barrett is a staunch Catholic, in favor of the religious right and is an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, CNN reported.
While Ginsburg opened doors for reproductive rights, Barrett will shut them in our faces.
In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented former President Barack Obama from filling the vacant ninth seat in the Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, NPR reported.
Meanwhile, Trump and the Senate are rushing to fill the vacancy in the court less than 30 days until the Nov. 3 election.
Toluwase Thomas, a freshman communications major, said the president should not have the authority to replace a justice so late into his term, and a vote for the next president is a vote for the next Supreme Court justice.
“If they did it to Obama, it should be the same for Trump,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be challenging for women and LGBTQ communities, so every vote really counts if we want to see a change for ourselves and future generations.”
The news of Trump’s nominee has only motivated me more to elect officials who will keep Ginsburg’s legacy alive and choose a justice she would have picked herself.
This election will be a test of our democracy. And whether we pass or fail will be the deciding factor of our judicial branch and the impact it has on our country for a long time.