Ruth Bader Ginsburg is about to lose her feminist card. Ironically, it’s for departing from her usual legal schtick to reinforce that what the law says matters, instead of giving authorities license to do whatever the heck they want.
“I would like to see a new beginning. I’d like it to start over,” Ginsburg said about the so-called Equal Rights Amendment Monday.” There’s too much controvery about latecomers — Virginia long after the deadline passed — plus a number of states have withdrawn their ratification. So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said, ‘We’ve changed our minds’?”
When Congress went through its part of the amendment authorizing process for the ERA, its authorization included a deadline for ratification by the states. Supreme Court precedent says such deadlines for ratification are legally valid. Still, today’s left chooses to ignore the parts of the law they don’t like while using the parts of it they currently find to their liking, or making things up if they don’t like the law at all.
So on Tuesday, Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser, who claims to focus on the Constitution, proclaimed that because of her remarks, “Justice Ginsburg’s feminist legacy teeters on a knife’s edge.”
Nice little feminist legacy you got there, Justice Ginsburg. You wouldn’t want to endanger it by disagreeing with where the left is now, would you? After we’ve spent so many years buttering you up so you’d do just what we insisted. I mean, we’ve put out documentary after biopic after book after museum exhibit hailing you as the feminist hero! And now you’d let a little thing like the obvious meaning of multiple laws and court decisions stand in the way of doing what we want?
“Ginsburg’s comments are likely to be the death knell for the ERA,” Millhiser writes further. “…Ginsburg also made her somewhat surprising remarks in a moment when the bulk of her feminist accomplishments are endangered by an increasingly conservative Supreme Court.”
Millhiser then accidentally lays out an irony about Ginsburg’s jurisprudence: the leftist understanding of law she’s fought for all her life could vanish into thin air precisely because it’s built on courts making things up that don’t exist in the laws they’re supposed to be applying faithfully. Live by the courts, die by the courts.
Currently a large chunk of federal policy is built on court decisions that have added horrific things to the laws that the people’s representatives never put in there. Massive parts of social and regulation policy belong in this category, such as Roe v. Wade, U.S. v. Chevron, and Obergefell v. Hodges. That makes these policies unstable if jurists with power begin to decide cases based on law rather than politics. And that’s where the Supreme Court is headed right now.
A case in point is none other than Ginsburg’s signature accomplishment: getting the Supreme Court to pretend that the Constitution says anything about the sexes in Reed v. Reed and United States v. Virginia (cases she argued as a lawyer and helped decide as a justice, respectively). If Supreme Court justices start taking the Constitution seriously, like the left fears, they could undo a whole lot of fake laws upon which rest huge sources of leftist power.
That’s why “The fate of Ginsburg’s feminist legacy is uncertain,” Millhiser writes. “…And cases like Virginia and Reed are even less likely to survive if President Trump gets to fill more seats on the Supreme Court.” In other words, Ginsburg’s legacy may be consumed by the very means she used to build it. If that happens, expect the left to take revenge on people who tried yet failed to secure that power — such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
There have been other rumblings that the left is planning to retcon Ginsburg’s legacy as soon as she kicks the bucket. Their knives may be mostly sheathed for now, but they’ve been quietly sharpening them over the fact that Ginsburg decided not to retire under President Obama, who then could have appointed a juicy young successor to keep the court political for decades to come.
“[N]o amount of swag or hagiography can obscure the fact that, while Ginsburg is responsible for a great number of landmark legal decisions, her legacy may be sorely tarnished by one truly terrible one: refusing to retire when President Barack Obama could have named her replacement,” wrote Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer in 2018, when Felicity Jones was about to portray the “Notorious RBG” on the silver screen.
Mencimer’s article catalogs a number of calls from the left then for Ginsburg to step down and secure their power over the Supreme Court for another generation. These appeared openly in the pages of the Los Angeles Times, National Journal, The New Republic, and Slate. Of course, Ginsburg either ignored or didn’t hear them.
But Ginsburg has already disappointed the left in her final act. And when she’s gone, don’t expect them to hide their rage. It sucks to be part of a revolution unless you somehow manage to be the last one holding the guillotine string.