The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves possible complicated outcomes in regards to voting rights, reproductive rights and civil liberties.
Ginsburg died on Friday evening in Washington, D.C. after a long term cancer battle, succumbing to metastatic pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.
The Trump administration continues playing a ruthless game, promising to announce Ginsburg’s replacement by the end of the week, followed by the backing of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who will insufferably carry out a sped up confirmation process in hopes of turning the tide of the court before Election Day.
Their efforts are unsurprisingly contradictory, pointing to when GOP Senate members blocked the confirmation of Obama nominee Merrick Garland, after the 2016 death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Championed as one of the most liberal justices in the modern-era, Ginsburg’s death and the outpouring of grief that followed evoked a similar response as the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. While white liberals took particular care in voicing their fears and frustration over the future of the country, Black voters were unable to wallow in the doom and gloom motifs–the past 400 years were enough proof to our communities that America was founded on a broken system.
And exit poll numbers showed a striking line of divide among white women and Black women, further spurring a sense of distrust when Black women have routinely showed investment in the America we claim we want to be.
That’s why it’s particularly difficult for Black women to become flustered in terms of who will replace Ginsburg. We know all too well that no one person can promise freedom, and that the goalpost is moved to accommodate the majority all the time.
But make no mistake, Black women do have concerns over Ginsburg’s departure, even if her record on the Supreme Court did not always sway particularly towards our specific causes. Black women are routinely left out of conversations regarding reproductive justice, and will be exposed to disenfranchisement at higher levels as one of the most viable voting populations, if voter suppression efforts continue.
Trump is slated to choose a conservative leaning woman judge, according to The New York Times. His shortlist includes frontrunner Amy Coney Barrett, a Federal Court of Appeals judge for the Seventh Circuit, Amul Thapar, a Federal Court of Appeals judge for the Sixth Circuit, Judge Raymond Kethledge, who also sits on the Sixth Circuit, Judge James Ho, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge Thomas M. Hardiman, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, William H. Pryor Jr. ,United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, and his colleague Judge Barbara Lagoa.
Ginsburg’s death places the reality that no lone person or group (Black women) is responsible for the soul of the nation. It is a collective effort that must be shared and invested in, in perpetuity.
While it may feel that Ginsburg’s death delivered a deafening blow to our liberties in the wake of continued racial unrest and a deadly pandemic, the path to get free is up to all of us.