SCOTUS Says Goodbye To Ruth Bader Ginsburg | The Heightened Stakes Of Fights Over Health Care & Climate Change
September 23, 2020
THE LAST GOODBYE|
The casket of JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG arrived at the Supreme Court this morning where more than 100 of her former clerks stood outside of 1 First in a stunning display of solidarity and appreciation. A small ceremony took place in the Great Hall of the high court where family, close friends, and the other Supreme Court justices honored RBG’s life. On Friday, Justice Ginsburg’s body will be moved to the U.S. Capitol building, and she will become the first woman to lie in state there. PRESIDENT TRUMP is expected to visit the court tomorrow to pay his respects.
ROCK STAR IN HER OWN RIGHT|
Richard Wolf with USA Today reports on today’s Supreme Court ceremony honoring JUSTICE GINSBURG, where CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS gave remarks. He noted that while RBG dreamed of becoming an opera virtuoso, she instead became a rockstar and “found her stage, right behind me in our courtroom.” Wolf writes, “All eight sitting justices and some of their spouses attended Wednesday’s ceremony inside the otherwise shuttered court, along with retired JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY. Sadly, the only woman to precede Ginsburg on the bench, her close friend [JUSTICE] SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and could not be present.”
SPLITTING A TORN NATION|
Senate Republicans seem to have the votes they need to confirm a replacement for JUSTICE GINSBURG before Election Day. The Associated Press reports, “Republicans believe the court fight will energize voters for Trump, boosting the party and potentially deflating Democrats who cannot stop the lifetime appointment for a conservative justice. The Senate is controlled by Republicans, 53-47, with a simple majority needed for confirmation. The one remaining possible Republican holdout, MITT ROMNEY of Utah, said Tuesday he supports taking a vote. Still, with early presidential voting already underway in several states, all sides are girding for a wrenching Senate battle over health care, abortion access and other big cases before the court and sure to further split the torn nation.”
FAIR TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE|
Yesterday, SENATOR SUSAN COLLINS re-affirmed that she plans to stand apart from her fellow GOP colleagues in the Senate, opposing a vote on a Supreme Court nominee before Election Day. She said on Tuesday: “If there is [a vote], I would oppose the nominee, not because I might not support that nominee under normal circumstances, but we’re simply too close to the election, and in the interest of being fair to the American people — and consistent since it was with the Garland nomination that the decision was made not to proceed, a decision that I disagreed with, but my position did not prevail — I now think we need to play by the same set of rules.”
FROM CLIMATE CRISIS TO CATASTROPHE|
Lisa Friedman and John Schwartz with The New York Times highlight that the stakes of the election and the fight over a replacement for JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG couldn’t be higher when it comes to ongoing efforts to combat climate change. They note, “PRESIDENT TRUMP has initiated the most aggressive environmental deregulation agenda in modern history, but as his first term drives to a close, many of his policies are being cut down by the courts — even by Republican-appointed jurists who the administration had hoped would be friendly.” If the Supreme Court were to have a 6-3 conservative majority, some of Trump’s biggest environmental rollbacks would likely be upheld.
“JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG’S death could not have come at a worse time for the millions of Americans who get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. One week after the election, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear yet another case about whether the law is constitutional. The case was worrisome enough when CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS held the swing vote. But if PRESIDENT TRUMP succeeds in seating a new justice, the political gravity of the court will lurch even further to the right. A case that once looked like a Hail Mary would stand a real chance of success.” That’s Andy Slavitt and Nicholas Bagley writing in The New York Times about the importance of health care in the presidential election, and now the fight over RBG’s seat. “What’s at stake is not just the coverage that millions of Americans have gained through the new insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion but also the parts of the law that protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.”
CAN'T COUNT ON ANYONE|
Marcia Coyle with The National Law Journal reports on PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ongoing effort to stop the 2020 census from counting undocumented immigrants. Last year, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt from the Trump administration to include a citizenship question on the census, but now a second dispute from Trump has made its way to SCOTUS.
SCOTUS VIEWSThe New York Times
“It was almost inevitable that President Trump would get one Supreme Court appointment during this four-year term. It was always possible that he’d get two. But three? Seldom has a president’s impact been so inversely proportional to his warrant. Trump, with his nonexistent mandate, reaches extra far and wreaks extra damage. That’s what makes his reign so perverse. That’s the special hell of it.”The Washington Post
“Tit-for-tat works, when it works, by quickly pushing people back toward cooperation. By the time you’re in the 18th round, with everyone intent on punishing the punishment-for-the-punishment, the strategy has not only failed, but also backfired. With the war over the federal courts, we are now in so deep that we may be entering the endgame, simply because there are almost no norms left to destroy.”The Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Biden, in the name of letting voters be ‘heard,’ is demanding that Republicans surrender and not confirm a new Justice. But he has given voters no idea of who he would appoint to the Court, beyond an identity politics pledge. And he won’t tell voters if he’d resist his party’s court-packing scheme that could blow up its legitimacy. The integrity of the Supreme Court and judicial independence are on the ballot, and Mr. Biden has a duty to clarify his position if he really wants to give voters a chance to be heard.”
“The Supreme Court is best known for its role in adjudicating social issues, both its triumphs as an institution, like its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, and its most shameful moments, such as Dred Scott v. Sandford and the rulings that struck down the civil rights legislation of the 1870s. Of course there’s Roe v. Wade, whose authors saw it as a ruling in the tradition of the former and whose critics see it as a ruling in the tradition of the latter. But in the American system, essentially every law and regulatory undertaking is subject to litigation and second-guessing by the courts. That means Supreme Court appointments have vast and wide-ranging authority over economic issues — authority that is often ignored by politicians and the media, but not by people with money at stake.”
A New Conservative Supreme Court Justice Could Boost Religious Rights At The Cost Of LGBTQ ProtectionsThe Washington Post
“A conservative replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, could provide a major boost to religious rights while threatening years of advancements for the LGBTQ community, legal experts and activists say. In cases spanning same-sex marriage rights to workplace protections, the Supreme Court has in recent years delivered landmark victories to gay and transgender Americans. But these watershed rulings have also left unresolved the polarizing conflict between those who want to safeguard religious rights and those who want to expand LGBTQ protections.”