Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg applauds after a performance in her honor after she spoke about her life and work during a discussion at Georgetown Law School in Washington in April 2018. The Supreme Court says Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg applauds after a performance in her honor after she spoke about her life and work during a discussion at Georgetown Law School in Washington in April 2018. The Supreme Court says Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Opinion: Honoring RBG’s final wish for Americans

The president and the Congress must honor the will of the people.

  • Monday, September 28, 2020 7:43pm
  • Opinion

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left a lasting legacy, particularly for women, and her death may have an equally decades-long impact if we do not honor her dying wish. Justice Ginsburg told her family, “My fervent wish is that I not be replaced until a new President is installed.” Americans overwhelmingly want the appointment of her replacement delayed until after the January inauguration of the next president.

It’s hard to overstate how much Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — the “Notorious RBG” — influenced women’s rights, equal pay and civil liberties for all Americans. Presidential appointments impact Americans daily in terms of fundamental rights, minimum wage, access to health care, job training, and more. Thoughtful, intelligent appointments to cabinet-level or judicial positions should benefit the average American.

It’s also possible to cheat Americans by appointing people who benefit from power instead of serving our citizens. The real winners during the Trump administration are corporations, CEOs, and the 1% billionaires whose wealth exploded while the average American’s income remained static or was wiped out in a mismanaged pandemic. While the U.S. Treasury continues to print money to prop up the stock market to benefit the wealthy, Americans are depleting their savings and mortgaging their home to pay bills.

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education, still has the luxury of vacationing on one of her 10 yachts while average Americans are worried about their kids actually returning to school.

Trump’s U.S. Postal Service appointee, Louis DeJoy, owned assets with mail service competitors such as UPS. He crippled the U.S. Postal Service to benefit himself while infringing on America’s capacity for an efficient mail-in election.

Former Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, rigged billion-dollar energy deals that benefitted his friends and political donors while Western states experience brownouts due to power consumption exceeding capacity. People are dying without air conditioning during heat waves.

The Supreme Court, at the behest of the Trump administration, is considering whether to strike down the Affordable Care Act which would effectively leave millions of already struggling Americans without health care in a pandemic.

Tax cuts for businesses benefit the rich, not the working class. The maximum corporate tax rate went from 35% to 21% resulting in lost revenue and more national debt for future generations. Trump’s proposed payroll tax relief failed because even Republicans agreed that downstream workers could see their Social Security impacted by the loss of revenue. In reality, tax cut benefits never “trickle down” as promised. They just make the rich wealthier.

And while average Americans have not profited during this administration, they have been encouraged to lash out violently at fellow Americans instead of directing their anger toward the actual perpetrators of these crimes. It doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t about “government” failing. It’s about the failure of poorly unqualified, self-serving people who should have never been appointed to their position of power in the first place.

[Eyes turn to Alaska’s senators amid Supreme Court Vacancy]

Our democratic system’s elegant design ensures distribution of authority across the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Americans hold power by voting. We are now weeks away from one of the most contentious elections in our history for seats in the Senate and the presidency. The outcome of the election with regard to the leadership of elected officials and presidential appointments will impact Americans’ daily lives significantly.

Nine months before the 2016 presidential election, the Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court explaining the appointment would not reflect the will of the people. Sen. Lisa Murkowski agreed with that rationale then and recently committed to not voting for a Supreme Court Justice until after the 2020 election. She is already waffling. In 2016, Sen. Dan Sullivan said, “It’s about the principle.” He’s right and he should stand up — finally — and represent Alaskans with a public commitment today. They should both commit to not voting until after the inauguration.

We, the people, require that all Americans — not just the wealthy — be served by our elected officials. The president and the Congress must honor the will of the people by refraining from a Supreme Court Justice appointment until the people have spoken in November and the next president is inaugurated in January 2021.

Deborah Craig benefitted from RBG’s judicial influence in her lifetime and wants to see those benefits remain available and viable for future generations of young men and women.

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