Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Day 197 Nat'l Emergency: The RBG Effect

 Pity the poor independent and anti-Trump Republican voter (“poor” being a state of mind rather than a descriptor of their financial status).


Now that another vacant seat has opened on the Supreme Court, they are in a quandary. They would like Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be replaced by a conservative. The sooner the better. That’s what Donald Trump seeks to have in place before election day.


Such action could free them to abandon Trump November 3rd, as their top priority of tilting the court to the right would have been been accomplished with a 6-3 majority. They would no longer need to rely on what they consider Chief Justice John Roberts’ lagging commitment to conservative principles. 


They aren’t enamored with Trump’s governing style and many of his policies, including his handling of the coronavirus coupled with his dismissal of mail-in voting so necessary during the pandemic, his rejection of climate change, his disparagement of anyone, especially women, who disagree with him, his anti-immigrant stance, his rollback of environmental protections, his coddling up to Putin and rejection of our own intelligence agencies. Trump’s public demeanor also troubles them as he is not a figure children look up to as a role model.


They’re also of mixed views on a central question the Supreme Court will face, the future of Roe v. Wade that established nationally a woman’s right to an abortion. Surveys have found more than half of suburban women favor retention of Roe v. Wade. 


But if abandoning Trump sweeps in Democratic control of the Senate and White House the election could lead to threatened court packing with a decidedly leftward tilt. That wouldn’t make those suburbanites happy, either. 


Trump’s pick will be anti-abortion. Of that there is no doubt. But her (he’s vowed to select a woman) views on civil rights, voting rights, the environment, executive power and a host of other issues may be the tip of the fulcrum that will determine if suburban women swing toward Trump or Joe Biden and if the Senate remains Trumpian or turns Democratic.  


Oh, what a dilemma they face. 



Four Degrees of Separation: Not six, but just four degrees of separation linked me with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sort of.


Let me explain. Upon RBG’s death Friday my cousin Michael shared the connection his wife Mary had with the late Supreme Court justice. 


During her first marriage in the early 1970s, Mary sought to retain her maiden name, Mary Stuart (for those conversant with 16th century English and Scottish history, yes, Mary is believed to be a descendant of the family of Mary, Queen of Scots. Reason enough to want to keep that name alive.)


The state of Maryland, however, was not amenable. For Mary Stuart to register to vote, Maryland required she enroll with her spouse’s last name. The state also revoked her driver’s license.


Mary sued. She lost. On appeal to the Maryland Court of Appeals, she won. 


As the Baltimore Sun reported May 11, 2017, “(Ruth) Bader Ginsberg, who co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, was the lead attorney on an amicus brief the ACLU filed in support of Stuart.”


Mary never met RBG. Indeed, until 2017 she did not know RBG had been involved with her hearing.


No matter. I’m still claiming four degrees of separation from the diminutive-in-size but supersize-in-stature women’s rights pioneer and advocate for the oppressed. 


Here’s a link to the Sun article on Mary’s precedent-setting lawsuit: https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-columbia-week-0511-20170511-story.html

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