Thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, millions of women gained access to safe abortions and were no longer considered “secondary breadwinners,” gay men and women could marry, extended the statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit, and all-male admission practices in military colleges were unconstitutional. I could go on.
To note these achievements matter. Already Ginsberg has ossified into a figure of resistance, a loathed symbol of the twentieth century’s last burst of liberal activism, and a reminder of how hubris and longevity cloud political judgment. I make the last point because Ginsberg should’ve stepped down in 2009 or 2010 when Barack Obama, at the height of his clout, and his party controlled the Senate.
In a week this long, I won’t play Chuck Todd and “game out” scenarios. The Dems don’t control the Senate; there’s little they can do except hope activists exact pressure on Susan Collins, Corey Gardner, and Lisa Murkowski. The first two face tough reelection races; Collins has said she won’t confirm a judge before an election or lame duck session. But Mindy Moderate, a master of the politics of bad faith, has furrowed her brow, looked Deeply Concerned, and done her party’s bidding before. The GOP has waited decades for a 6-3 majority that will destroy Roe v. Wade, vaporize what remains of union protections, and eviscerate our understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The only other weapon? Threaten to expand the Supreme Court should the Dems win back the Senate and the Oval Office. The best way to honor her legacy is to fight even facing defeat, if only for the sake of our descendants.