America lost one of the most unexpected cultural icons on Sept. 18th, 2020. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in her home due to preexisting complications with metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. Despite Ginsburg’s age, she was well-loved and backed by a generation much younger than her own.
This was clear in the way that her name was plastered in commemoration of her all over social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. She was given the nickname of the Notorious RBG, an ode to rapper the Notorious BIG, who was also born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, like Ginsburg.
Her feminist and equal opportunist mark was left on the laws she has been responsible for, and unexpectedly, on pop culture of the young people of America.
“She is an icon to younger people because she stood on the right side of history by protecting the most vulnerable,” said Dr. James Hedtke, a professor of history and political science.“She has been a staunch defender of equality for all Americans,” Hedtke said.
Since Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, she has seen a countless number of cases. Ginsburg dealt with cases surrounding gender equality and abortion rights. One of her most important cases was Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), which dealt with race and colleges all over America. Hedtke said, “In this case, Ginsburg and four other justices ruled that racial diversity was a compelling enough national interest to permit affirmative action to play a role in college admissions.”
This case opened the doors for many people in America seeking higher education. It made it so that colleges addressed and took into consideration the clear inequality that was set in the upbringing of different races due to systematic racial oppression that they have been put up against in their communities.
“She has expanded the concept of equality to all Americans contained in the Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment,” Hedtke said. “She has done so in a non-antagonistic manner while listening to arguments made from all sides of the political spectrum.”
Ginsburg’s death has brought an unexpected shift in current American politics amidst a presidential election. This 2020 election on its own was being considered the most important in a very long time and her death has only raised the stakes and has left people unclear of what the future of America looks like.
Trump wasted no time in nominating a candidate to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court. He has nominated Amy Coney Barrett as RBG’s successor.
The Republican party has been pushing for the confirmation of President Trump’s nomination. Many have been calling his administration out for this considering what happened in 2016 with the Obama administration. Obama was put in a place to nominate a replacement in light of the passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia who died earlier in the election year in February.
The GOP did not consider Obama’s nomination and deemed it inappropriate to fill a vacancy during an election year. The appointment of Barrett would favor the GOP’s agenda. Many of the upcoming cases on the ballot to be discussed in the Supreme Court are cases that Ginsburg fought for and approved, which, Barrett’s views oppose.
Trump and his administration have clearly shown their intentions to undo everything Ginsburg has done.
Her memory will forever be one held with the younger generation of Americans. From the way her fragile little body was able to keep up with gym workouts to the way she fiercely worked a courtroom, her legacy will live on.
“Ginsburg’s legacy will be that she always attempted to raise people up to their fullest potential without dragging others down,” Hedtke said.