On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, at the age of 87, at her home in Washington.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death sets in motion a battle for the future of the Supreme Court, the rule of law and the concept of an independent judiciary. It will be a battle without a victor, and American democracy will be the loser.
Throughout her life, Bader Ginsburg (aka, the Notorious RBG) was the embodiment of how the rule of law, manifested through the vehicle of the Constitution of the USA, could (and should) serve the interests of the American people by ensuring that the playing field that is American society was as level as possible.
Whether one agrees with her politics or not, RBG’s defense of the constitutionally based principles of individual liberties and freedoms was the personification of what the judicial process in America should be about.
RBG’s death is not expected to bring about the kind of somber celebration of life and legacy that she deserves. However, US President Donald Trump says he will soon nominate a Supreme Court justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
We will have a nominee very soon, Trump told reporters on Saturday, specifying that it would likely happen next week and adding that most likely it would be a woman.
Trump named Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible nominees. The US President now has the opportunity to expand the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to 6 (out of a total of 9) justices.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate would vote on Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg despite the upcoming presidential elections.
Ginsburg’s death has triggered a political fight over her succession that will deepen the fractures in American society, leading to the kind of reactions that are the antithesis of the rule of law that RBG so passionately fought to defend.
That the death of a woman whose life embodied the hope and promise of America threatens to be the cause of its ultimate demise is a tragic irony.
On the surface, the political fight over RBG’s succession is about process. Should a sitting president be able to execute his constitutional prerogative to nominate a candidate to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat on the eve of a national election.
With the passing of RBG, President Donald Trump has less than two months to do the same. Hypocrisy does not even begin to define the Republican stance in supporting Trump.
In the corrupt universe of American politics today, however, hypocrisy is the coin of the realm. This is especially true when it comes to the US Congress, which long ago stopped advocating for the American people and constitutionally protected individual rights, and instead took up the banner of financial corporate interests.
That this corruption would extend to the Supreme Court was only natural – while Article III of the Constitution established the federal judiciary, inclusive of “one supreme Court,” it left how this court would be organized up to Congress.
The struggle between Congress and the Supreme Court has been ongoing since the birth of the United States of America.
The self-appointed power of judicial review, where the Supreme Court, through its 1803 decision in Marbury v. Madison, determined that it had the ability to declare a legislative or executive act in violation of the Constitution, is in and of itself not a constitutionally mandated power.
Rather, it represents the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which was determined by the justices to be contrary to Article VI of the Constitution, which established the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.
On the surface, judicial review would appear to be the ideal power for the third branch of government, allowing for the appropriate checks and balances between the ostensibly three separate but equal branches of government to occur.
This is not, however, how the Constitution defined the role of the Supreme Court, but rather how the Supreme Court, with the consent of Congress, interpreted its own role.
Over the years, Congress and presidents have sought to shape the Supreme Court in a manner which best suits their respective political interests, and not the interests of the American people, with the Court itself caught in between.
The Republicans see RBG’s death as an opportunity to seize absolute control of the Supreme Court for the next two or three decades, while the Democrats see the social programs they have fought to instill in the fabric of American society since the 1960’s at risk from the same.
In short, RBG’s passing has defined an ideological battlefield – the Supreme Court – that both political parties see as constituting an existential struggle for the future of the USA.
In shaping the fight for RBG’s seat in such stark terms, Republicans and Democrats have ensured that, regardless of the outcome, half the country will feel disenfranchised by the result.
Having politicized the Supreme Court, Congress has undermined the public trust and confidence in the very concept of the rule of law that underpins the American democratic experiment. In short, the battle for RBG’s seat represents the end of the American dream.
Regardless of the outcome, there can be no winners – just losers. The US will continue to exist, but in name only. The vision of our founding fathers will have been squandered. Paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin, we had a republic, but we could not keep it.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point Political News 2020.