Last night’s news of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shook many of us to our core. I am devastated at the loss of such an important and inspirational figure. And while we awake to dozens of news articles and stories about the amazing life she led, what I’m not seeing – what we need – is more information on what we can do from here. How we can honor the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what we need to know to pick up the torch and continue her fight for equality and human rights.
As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said; this is not the time for despair. This is the time for action. We can ensure that what RBG fought for does not get swept away in the aftermath of her death. We have power. We will act and will protect the right’s she so tireless fought for.
What You Need to Know Now:
First, we need to understand what the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court means from a legal and political perspective. In essence, her absence means a Supreme Court that is no longer balanced and leans in favor of Republican appointees with very conservative ideas about women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration and health care. Even with RBG on the bench SCOTUS has had some very narrow majority decisions on some key issues these last four years.
For those that don’t know Chief Justice Roberts is a conservative judge who traditionally votes on a very Republican/Conservative line but who has recently voted with the more liberal judges on a number of issues, including protecting DREAMers from deportation. This recent pattern of voting has lead to a split in quite a few cases that saw the liberal judges win a majority, narrowly. But, with RBG gone and Chief Justice Robert’s voting pattern basically a wild card, there is a very real concern for how cases on liberal issues of women’s rights, human rights and equality will fair moving forward.
This matters because the Supreme Court has a number of big cases scheduled for shortly after the election including a challenge brought by Republican’s to the Affordable Care Act. Who takes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s spot on the Supreme Court will dictate the future of human rights in the world’s leading super power. This appointment and these cases will have effects that trickle down for decades to come.
What Could Happen Next:
The real debate, real concern right now is whether President Trump will try to appoint a Judge immediately to fill her role or whether the appointment will be held off until after the upcoming election. What we need to do know is monitor this situation. We need to pay attention to what legislation the Trump administration tries to push and what actions they take. While there are, of course, a number of reliable sources of this information I highly recommend following along with NPR & the ACLU who already providing updates and coverage of this important issue.
What To Do Today:
If you are an American, the number one thing you need to do today is check your voter registration. Period. The election just got even more important. Take 5 minutes today and confirm your address/registration is up to date and check your voting deadlines. Below is a really helpful graphic from the ACLU. You can get to all of the pages they reference from the ACLU’s voting info page.
What To Do This Week:
What are some causes that are important to you? Gender equality? health care? Decide on a cause that is important to you and pledge to make a difference in it. If you’re financially able donate or even set up monthly donations. You could also get involved in a hands-on way. With RBG gone we need to take up the torch to protect the right’s we hold so dear.
What To Do Moving Forward:
Continue to stay educated. Continue to stay passionate. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg can sit on the Supreme Court through battles with cancer, pneumonia and more we can do this. We can stay on top of these issues and continue this fight.
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” ~ Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, may she rest in peace.
Ps. My Ruth Bader Ginsburg Face mask is from Etsy and still available if you’re interested.