On September 18, 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. I suppose that I should have realized how dumb things would get in the world of stupid politics, but the truth is that is got so dumb so fast that I didn’t even have a chance to consider how dumb it would get.
I’m not going to claim to really know all that much about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so I’m not going to write anything about how she inspired generations of women everywhere. It’s likely she did, but I was unaware of it. I know about as much about Ruth Bader Ginsburg as I know about Allen Ginsberg, which is only sad because I should be more interested in Allen Ginsberg than I apparently am. And if I’m going to be stupidly honest here, even though I know who Fran Lebowitz is my stupid brain always imagined Fran Lebowitz when I heard the name Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’m probably not the best person to write about any of these people.
I’m not yet going to discuss Ruth Bader Ginsburg though. I’m going to start with another person I know almost nothing about, Sonia Sotomayor. Back in *looks up on Wikipedia* 2009, I remember that she was nominated for the Supreme Court and the criticism of the time was that they had dug and dug, but found nothing that seemed to make her a poor choice to be a Justice of the Supreme Court. Then they promptly kept digging. And digging. This is just my recollection of what was going on. If history differs from my recollection then please understand that I was unaware until September 18, 2020 that she was even finally accepted. As far as I knew, they were still digging and that’s how China was able to use Tik Tok to spy on us.
At the time, I made what I thought was a reasonable comment to a conservative presence in my life, which was something to the effect of, “If everyone believes Sonia Sotomayor is a worthy candidate then why are they dragging their feet so much.” This resulted in a frank discussion about how allowing anyone who was left leaning onto the Supreme Court should be avoided at all costs, because that’s pretty much a lifetime appointment and the Supreme Court decides many of the biggest questions facing our nation. I was skeptical that Obama would be court blocked the entire time he was president, but the implication was that Sotomayor was only getting through if they felt that she was truly qualified and showed a history of balanced rulings.
This is why I was a bit surprised that it was already announced that there would be a replacement as quickly as possible when Ginsburg’s passing was announced. I made what I thought was a reasonable comment to a different conservative presence in my life, which was something to the effect of, “I thought that the replacement of a Supreme Court Justice was something not to take lightly by rushing someone in.” This was just based on what I remember from the Sotomayor days. I wasn’t even fully aware of the crazy bullshit from 2016 yet. I was once again treated with a frank discussion about why it’s so important to strike while the iron is hot, and how the Democrats would do the same damn thing.
Let me stop for a moment and explain that this is how I always get myself in trouble with any political discussion I ever have. In neither case was I taking the side of the Democrats. If I point out the hypocrisy of any politician it doesn’t automatically make me a dupe for the other side. I will point out the hypocrisy of any politician. I wrote a note to Elizabeth Warren through a survey on her website explaining that I felt she was failing those of us who had always supported her by using smear tactics against her opponents during her candidacy rather than using the platform to discuss important issues. I was willing to vote for her, but I still pointed out her failings at civility and professionalism.
The Republican Party is exhibiting full throttle hypocrisy in this Supreme Court matter.
Go to 9:05 to watch the compilation of clips, since the embed code YouTube gave me to start the video at 9:05 doesn’t want to work.
This does not mean I’m taking the side of the Democrats. I’m going to do my best to explain this in a way that is logical and reasoned. It’s too easy to just point to people like Lindsey Graham saying to use his own words against him if there is a vacancy in 2020 with a Republican President – too easy and also inaccurate, because we don’t have a Republican President. Am I being snarky? Talk amongst yourselves.
Here’s how I would have handled all of this if I was in Trump’s position. I want you to note the difference in tone, and imagine to yourself how this might not fill the left with rage that the right wing media is quick to call threatening and violent. Is it threatening and violent? Maybe. That’s some other hypocrisy to deal with another time. Imagine if Trump had done the following how the reaction might have been different.
“I’m saddened to hear of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She led an amazing life.” This is more or less what he said when given the news in front of cameras.
This is where things would be different, and I am aware that some of his officials are spinning his reaction as respectful, but rather than tweeting that he’s going to find a replacement, come out that evening and say the following.
“I’m actually not thrilled to have to make this political this quickly after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, but I feel that the media circus of speculation would distract from this woman’s amazing life and we should be honoring her memory. The unfortunate likelihood is that when the shock is a little less in a couple of weeks, we will be searching for a fitting replacement for Justice Ginsburg. It’s not the circumstances anyone would hope for having to find a replacement for someone so amazing in such a relatively short time. And look, there is so little time between now and what I hope to be my second term that it may be unrealistic to nominate and appoint a worthy replacement. We will try, but only if we believe it’s someone we can find the support for. If it isn’t to be, we can try after the election, but even though nominees generally don’t get through during election years, nominations are commonly made during election years. This is all I’ll say until I’ve had a chance to review the potentials.”
Then you do your homework for two weeks, you pay tribute to Ginsburg a few times, and you get your party on board with talking about ways that she was an inspiration. You maybe even drop the tidbit about a female replacement somewhere in there. “I was thinking about how much she did for feminism, and as I’m poring through candidates, I’ve found a couple of qualified women who I think would be a great voice for the court. We’re strongly considering them.” And then when people have calmed down a little bit, when people don’t feel threatened by the haste, you talk up a possible replacement and your hopes that she will live up to the legacy left by Ginsburg.
The thing that I keep coming back to with Donald Trump is the lack of leadership. Would people still be mad at me if I was in his position and I did it this way; probably. You can’t please all the people. What would exist though would be respectful transition from Ginsburg to the new nominee. Maybe it wouldn’t be genuine if Trump did it this way, but it would be genuine if it was me in his position. I would really want the world, and the media, to have a couple of weeks to remember her before they had to worry about the cold side of politics. Unfortunately, when there is a job to do, sometimes you have to push past the emotion and do the job.
I actually feel the Republicans should nominate a replacement, even though I worry about the type of person that Donald Trump would want in the position. It’s the way our system is setup. It’s his job. I feel he missed out on a potential moment for great leadership though. His reaction to the news, whether it was truly the first he’d heard of her passing or not, was exactly what it should have been. It’s too bad he couldn’t take that moment of sorrow and tribute just a little bit further by not treating her death as a boon to the Republicans, and playing up the fact that he wished to do his job while respecting her contribution to the law. You know, leadership. It’s hard to keep up with everything, so if he’s done anything that resembles this that I’ve not seen yet then cool, I guess. Otherwise, these are just my thoughts on this matter.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who it seems to that she lived her life like counted headlights on the highway… I’m getting something mixed up here. Just ignore me. R.I.P. R.B.G.