By Jessi Lewis
News of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has sent shock waves around the world.
Justice Ginsburg was only the second women in history to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993 and has held the position for the past 27 years.
In a statement released by the Supreme Court it was revealed Ginsburg passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at her home in Washington DC, after a long battle with cancer which began In 1999 when the Former Supreme Court Justice first underwent surgery for colon cancer. At the time Ginsburg also received radiation and chemotherapy.
In 2009, she again underwent surgery following a positive diagnosed for pancreatic cancer and in December 2018 for a cancerous growth on her left lung. Even after she revealed a recurrence of her cancer in July 2020, Justice Ginsburg’s said she remained “fully able” to continue as a justice.
In her time as Supreme Court Justice- Ginsburg time again proved herself a powerful and genuine ally of the LGBTQI communities, champion of woman’s rights and a combater of the injustices suffered by too many minorities. Her hard-line stance on such issue earning her the nick name of ‘Notorious RBG’ among many of her supporters.
In 2003, Ginsburg ruled on a case which overturned US law which forbid “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex”. In her ruling of the landmark Supreme Court case of Lawrence v Texas, Ginsburg made the point that any American laws prohibiting private activity between consenting adults were unconstitutional.
More recently, Ginsburg came out swinging at opponents of same sex marriage, Saying in 2015, as the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments to Obergefell v. Hodges case, that “Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition. Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female,” Ginsburg continued to explain. “That ended as a result of this court’s decision in 1982 when Louisiana’s Head and Master Rule was struck down … Would that be a choice that state should [still] be allowed to have? To cling to marriage the way it once was?”
The result of the Obergefell v. Hodges case was of course responsible for US state bans on same sex marriage being overturned.
Following this historic decision- Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate a number of same sex marriages- including American Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius and his husband Clayton Bond.
Confirming she officiated the marriage, Ginsburg said: “I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship.”
Then in 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in Colorado- Ginsburg wrote a scathing dissent saying that “When a couple contacts a bakery for a wedding cake, the product they are seeking is a cake celebrating their wedding ― not a cake celebrating heterosexual weddings or same-sex weddings ― and that is the service [the couple] were denied.’
In the days before her death on Friday, the 87-year-old dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera which read “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
It is almost inevitable that Ginsberg’s passing will set in motion a nasty political debate surrounding just who will succeed her at the Supreme Court.
Most concerning is the fact that Ginsburg’s death now clears the way for Republicans to tighten their grip on the court with another Trump appointment giving the conservative vote a 6-to-3 majority with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell controversially confirmed on Friday evening that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
As tributes to the former Supreme Justice, began flooding social media today, Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement that. “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
A private interment service for Ginsburg will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.