Decency calls for solemnity on the occasion of the death of a person of importance such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A pioneer, Ginsburg attended Harvard Law School in 1956 as one of only nine women.
A scholar, following a clerkship in the Southern District of New York, Ginsburg co-authored a book on Swedish civil procedure, taught law at Rutgers, founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, and taught at Columbia Law School and Stanford. Ginsburg proved herself an effective courtroom advocate, particularly in the application of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to women.
President Carter tapped Ginsburg for the United States Court of Appeals. President Clinton nominated Ginsburg to the Supreme Court on June 14, 1993. She was confirmed 48 days later.
Ginsburg’s distinction on the Supreme Court—other than in forming a tight bond with her ideological opposite, Justice Antonin Scalia—is to have become the embodiment of the defense of abortion as a constitutional right, to the point of deification. Ginsburg, “the Notorious RGB” as she became known to her fans, is the Left’s goddess of abortion.
Decency also requires us to discuss other things about Justice Ginsburg. Her death has deepened this country’s political crisis, and Justice Ginsburg played a role in that crisis.
The average age of the current Supreme Court justices is 65. Ginsburg had been the oldest Justice on the Supreme Court since 2010, and ranked at the time of her death as the fourth-oldest in the history of the country.
It is no accident that Ginsburg found herself a generation ahead of the average age of her colleagues. In 2015, when President Obama had the power to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, she was 82 and had been suffering from pancreatic cancer since 2009. Yet she declined to go along.
Insisting that she remain, Ginsburg either did not see or did not care that President Obama reliably would have appointed someone who shared her judicial philosophy, and that Senate Republicans reliably would have confirmed. Needless to say, President Obama would have appointed a woman to succeed Ginsburg, and so by refusing the opportunity, Ginsburg—tireless advocate of women—barred the advancement of another.
Ginsburg’s personal engagement in her causes proved more important to her than the success of those causes. The entirely predictable outcome has now come to pass.
This exposes a character flaw in Ginsburg. Having worked stubbornly into her position, with equal stubbornness she clung to it, as though she alone had the wisdom, in advanced age and failing health, to carry on her cause.
If Justice Ginsburg’s ego blinded her to this moment, which so many anticipated, one has to ask, what else did she fail to foresee in her long career?
We can start with the incompatibility of abortion and the grounding principles of the United States. The president reminded us this week, in attacking postmodernist historian Howard Zinn, that the definitive moment of the creation of the United States is 1776, with the Declaration of Independence and its principle that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights, beginning with the right to life.
It represents the confluence, as opposed to conflation, of the ancestral and the good, in the rudimentary stuff of the United States.
Ginsburg’s nearly unqualified embrace of abortion as a fundamental extension of the rights embodied in the Bill of Rights and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution implies either the rejection of the Declaration of Independence or its perversion in a manner no less repugnant than that of the Dred Scott opinion of 1858. If Dred Scott notoriously hardened opinions leading to the Civil War, Nortorious RBG hardened opinions around abortion in derogation of the notion human beings have inherent rights that every other human being is bound to respect.
America’s revolutionary dedication to a republicanism that became a light unto the nations has descended into a street battle with a vicious Marxist movement. Whether accidentally or intentionally, Ginsburg is connected to that, and you will witness that connection in the invocation of her deified remembrance in the coming political trials in the next months.
The 2020 election is now bracketed by two violent extremes that draw strength from Justice Ginsburg’s inability to foresee the consequences that follow from her rejection of the Declaration in defense of abortion.
On one side are the echelons of fighters for Communism, a doctrine which explicitly advances the idea that certain persons—capital, oppressors, the white privileged, the ever-growing list—have no rights anyone is bound to respect. This doctrine is intertwined with abortion in its hostility toward the family and the family’s role in the morality that supports private property and in its derogation of inalienable right to life.
On the other side is Donald Trump, who explicitly made the restoration of the principles of 1776, and their grounding in natural right, his cause, and opposes abortion more directly and forcefully than any president in the history of the country.
This moment, this election, and what flows from it is a referendum on these issues.
May Justice Ginsburg rest in peace. May the rest of us work towards peace through the vindication of the principles of 1776.