Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a true inspiration in the eyes of many. Do not let the five-foot-tall demeanor of the woman fool you. She was a powerful advocate for women’s rights, the Democratic party’s ideals, and the American people. This phenomenal woman recently passed away at 87 years old on September 18, 2020, due to pancreatic cancer. Looking back on all the changes that RBG accomplished during her life span is truly inspiring. But many cannot help but wonder what her recent passing means for the future of the Democratic party.

Ruth’s life and accomplishments

As an adolescent hoping to achieve higher education and participate in the upcoming world of politics, I cannot help but look to this woman for inspiration. She represented America’s brightest completing education at not one Ivy League but three: Columbia, Cornell, and Harvard. She then went on to be a civil rights attorney. Then, she the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. At the start of her career, she had to go above and beyond to be seen as equal in the eyes of her male colleagues, as she was the second female law professor at the Rutgers Law School.

This is where her passion for pursuing gender equality stems from her own struggles. While in the Supreme Court, she habitually fought against gender discrimination and was the leading liberal voice. She took many steps to progress and represent the Democratic party’s ideals with her time in office. In the year of 1996, RBG wrote the majority opinion for the United States v. Virginia. She demanded that women who were deemed qualified could not be denied entrance to the Virginia Military Institute, an all-male institution.

RBG also co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU.  Also, she took the task of handling numerous gender discrimination cases and overseeing ACLU’s gender equality campaign. And she was truly invested in leveling the playing field of opportunity for men and women, no matter the circumstance. She brought light to the unfair discrimination in the legislative process and made the importance of gender rights ubiquitous among many.

RBG was at the forefront of exposing these discriminatory atrocities, with many of her predecessors ignoring or overlooking the disadvantages women are continuously subject to in the political demographic and everyday life. Ruth found this insufferable and devoted her entire life to dismantling these archaic ideals. RBG took the time to represent the women of America, no matter how big or small an issue.

In 1972, RBG represented a woman named Susan Struck, who had to terminate her pregnancy to maintain her position in the Air Force, an idea not considered unreasonable until countered by Ruth. She revolutionized the idea that gender discrimination was to be regarded with the same constitutional importance as racial discrimination. Her ideology required America to wake up to the daunting set of challenges its previous society had placed on women.

Her struggles and experiences allowed her to educate the legislature on what actions would benefit women, and which ones were oppressing them.

For example, in the 1971 case, Reed v. Reed Ruth presented a successful counter to a law putting women at a significant disadvantage. This was a long-standing Idaho law that allowed men to have the upper hand at being appointed to the position of managing estates. This was solely based on the notion that men were more adequately acquainted with business knowledge, making them superior at the job.

Ruth recognized the generalized stereotype placing business savvy women at a disadvantage and set out to abolish the oppressive law. But she not only believed in the equal access of opportunity for women but also for men. In the 1973 Frontiero v. Richardson case, she challenged the military ruling that did not provide men with wives in the military the same advantages that women with husbands in the military were granted due to the pre-conceived notion that men were not as a dependent on their spouse.

Ruth was devoted to caring for every individual and had a big heart and passion for the less fortunate. Unlike many politicians, you can see her real compassion for people and an authentic desire to help those left fortunate than herself.

In the 1975 Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld case, Ruth challenged a Social Security service that refused to provide widowers with survivor benefits because of the notion that wives did not earn as much money as their husbands, making their income contribution invalid. She ultimately won the case, and after resumed to keep in contact with her client, demonstrating her unfailing devotion to the American people, that was not confined to the walls of a courtroom.

Future of the Democratic Party

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by Bill Clinton and served the American people in this position for 27 years as the leading liberal voice in the courtroom.

Even after being diagnosed with cancer in multiple locations, she continued to serve on the Supreme Court. Her goal was to hang on until at least election day, hoping that Joe Biden was to be elected. He would have the opportunity to appoint another democrat in the heavily dominated Republican Supreme Court, in which case she could retire.

But this hardworking woman fell only a few days short of her goal.

The question is, what happens next? President Trump will be eager to fill this spot, which I am sure will erupt into yet another conflict between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats determined to uphold the wish and legacy of RBG, and Republicans determined to add more support behind President Trump in the already Republican-dominated Supreme Court.

If a conservative is appointed in place of Ruth, the Democratic party definitely has something to worry about. Even if Joe Biden beats President Trump in the November election, Republicans will still have an overwhelming hold over the Supreme Court and White House.

This devastating death has presented Trump with an opportunity I am sure he is eager to utilize. The progressive victories Democrats have worked hard to implement, like abortion restrictions and affordable healthcare with the help of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could all be undone with yet another conservative holding a significant position in the Supreme Court. This potentially gives Trump the power to slow the changes Biden will try to make if elected into office.

This challenging time we are facing is inflamed by the upcoming presidential election, racial injustice, and of course, COVID-19. The upcoming debate between Democrats and Republicans to fill the Supreme Court vacancy is only going to add fuel to the fire. This is understandable, as the devoted members of the Democratic party are concerned about the validity the party will hold after RBG’s death.

The majority of seats that Republicans occupy in the current government is gradually worrying Democrats. What will it mean to be a Democrat in a Republican-run government? How will the Democratic ideals and morals be effectively-regarded with respect and seriousness if there are only a few blue dots in a sea of red?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a powerful figure Democrats had in their corner. As a result, now that she has passed, the stake of the Democratic party is on edge. Her passing puts Democrats at a potential disadvantage and changes the future of the Democratic party.

Ruth’s legacy

While I am a Democratic supporter, I think this goes much deeper than a struggle for power between the two groups. I believe this is also a moral inquiry.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg devoted her entire life to helping the Democratic party and dismantling discrimination based on sex. Her dying wish was to not have another person appointed until after the Presidential Election. Regardless of whether you are a Democrat or not, we should all be able to pull together enough human decency to honor a dying woman’s wish and put our differences behind us. She worked tirelessly. Ruth left this world without even having the chance to retire because of her devotion to the American people. If you do not find that to be a justifiable reason as to why we should honor and respect her wishes, I do not know what is.   

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a role model for young girls, feminists, and many others across America. She may not have made it to election day, but she left her mark on this world. She will not be forgotten as she takes her place among history’s finest. Ruth is yet another example for young Democratic hopefuls to follow, and an outstanding example of what women can accomplish. She dedicated her life to improving America, and I hope we can continue to follow in her steps.

In Ruth’s own wise words, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” I will most certainly continue to follow her example and strive to make just as powerful an impact on the world as this wonderful woman managed to do.

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