A thrice married adulterer who lost the popular vote is now going to fill his third Supreme Court seat. Few presidents have embraced raw sexism and misogyny with the same zeal as one Donald J. Trump. You’ll remember Donald J. Trump as the guy with at least 22 sexual assault allegations; the one who was caught on tape saying that he was so famous he could grab women “by the pussy.” And in his 1997 “book” The Art of the Comeback, Trump “writes”: “If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller.”
It unfolded like a horror movie. On Friday afternoon beloved Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg slipped this mortal coil. She was arguably the most famous Supreme Court justice of our time. Few women go from mortal to meme in their lifetimes, but RBG did exactly that. She was during her life the subject of numerous movies and books.
But RBG was more than that to many of us. RBG was born during a time when women were treated like oversized children. RBG was, according to The New York Times, “the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s rights movement.” My mother, feminist Erica Jong, thought of RBG as a GOD. She was a feminist before feminism was a thing. Her life’s work was to stop discrimination “on the basis of sex.”
Days before her death, RBG dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Trump immediately said “I don't know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi. I would be more inclined to the second, OK? That came out of the wind.” Trump was shopping the idea that RBG didn’t really say that, which was followed by Tucker Carlson also shopping that same conspiracy theory, yet another moment of synchronicity in the Mobius strip that is the Fox News-Trump presidency.
But the idea that RBG didn’t want her seat filled 43 days before an election, while certain states are already voting, is hardly controversial. In 2016, Republicans didn’t want to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat even thought it was 293 days before the 2016 election. In fact, filling a Supreme Court seat in an election year hasn’t been done in 80 years, and there’s a reason. Several polls out this week show more respondents saying the next president should choose RBG's replacement.
And in fact, Mitch McConnell used to believe this very thing. On Feb. 13, 2016, 293 days before the 2016 election, Mitch mused, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
But 2020 Mitch McConnell seems to have forgotten about 2016 Mitch McConnell. Ginsburg had been dead approximately 72 hours when Mitch got up on the Senate floor and pre-accused Democrats of attacking his nominee. He called it "an even more appalling sequel" to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The irony of course was that there was no nominee yet, but that didn’t stop Mitch from whipping all the votes he needed even before the nominee was announced, because if there’s one thing Republicans are good at, it’s getting in line, because power is the only tenet of modern-day Republicanism.
With RBG’s seat filled by a female conservative, there will be a conservative majority on the Court, and that means bye-bye to Obamacare, and likely to Roe v. Wade, and that’s just the beginning. America will truly be a Handmaid’s Tale fantasy, and it will all have been accomplished by the guy who cheated on his third wife with Stormy Daniels and then cut her a check during the 2016 election. I mean the irony here is pretty fucking thick. These evangelicals see no problem in using the guy with all the sexual assault allegations because they ultimately just want power.
The only bright spot in what is otherwise a sea of sadness for Democrats is that they are enraged. Mitch doesn’t care about Democrats’ feelings or the rules that he made up four years ago, or any of that other stuff. But Mitch should care because on the weekend after RBG died, Democrats went wild, giving “more than $160 million online through Act Blue,” and at least 13 Democratic senators or candidates raised over a million dollars each.
Republicans hold the Senate by four seats. Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Arizona, Iowa, South Carolina, Montana, Alaska, and Georgia are all very close races;, an infusion of cash and fiery Democratic rage could deliver Democrats a serious majority. Mitch could be triggering a chain reaction that could cause him to lost control of the Senate.
As a woman, I’ve found the constant onslaught of sexism and misogyny to be exhausting but nothing has prepared me for the sheer devastation that is losing RBG and having her last words questioned by the sleazy idiot on Pennsylvania Avenue and evil Tucker the frozen fish heir. RBG wouldn’t have wanted this but if she causes Democrats to win the White House and take back the Senate, then perhaps she’ll smile down on us, knowing that we’ve done all we could.