First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged her husband President William Jefferson Clinton to consider appointing Ruth Bader Ginsberg, RBG, to the United States Supreme Court. After 10 minutes of private time with RBG, late one Sunday night, Bill Clinton‘s mind was made up. RBG was to be his choice as nominee to our nations highest court.
Many years later, President Barack Obama appointed Judge Merrick Garland to the court and Senator Mitch McConnell denied Merrick Garland a hearing and therefore a chance at serving on the Supreme Court. Senator McConnell frustrated decades of the court’s and the executives civil vacancy selection process for purely political land ideological reasons. Donald Trump was allowed to fill the vacancy months later after his inauguration.
An aging RBG, held on to her seat, with tremendous courage, with the goal of an ideological appointment to succeed her work, hoping in 2016 that President Hillary Rodman Clinton would see fit to extent her legacy. She tried to wait out the next election cycle. But the Trump/McConnell cabal could not be overcome.
While I cannot confirm it, I must believe that RBG expected President Hillary Clinton, to appoint her successor.
Instead, the election victory of Donald Trump and the cabal of Trump and McConnell will likely swing the court.
The swing will be in the direction of states rights and local control against human rights and human dignity. Such is the history of rendering decisions that elevate the 10th amendment to the constitution, the same amendment that served as the legal justification for chattel slavery, to supremacy, (read white), above God endowed human rights.
Supreme court nominees are a function of ideology overtime. They must have, in my opinion, a progressive ideology for building a more perfect union, overcoming the historical shortcomings of white male hegemony at our nations founding, and they must be young enough, to serve long enough, to render decisions based upon the Reconstruction Amendments 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, especially the 14th amendments equal protection clause, established after the civil war and as a result of the end chattel slavery, states rights and the 10th amendment notwithstanding. The Civil War amendments, the Reconstruction amendments are the turning point of the Constitution and are responsible for overcoming the limitations of states rights.
For most conservatives, the 10th amendment is the turning point in the constitution, federal rights versus states rights. Call most liberals the turning point in the constitution are the Reconstruction amendments, human rights versus federal and state rights.
RBG used the precedence established by the history of “the race decisions and cases, Dred Scott to Plessy to Brown, involving the issue of race” to free women in our own country. She built on the race dialogue by swinging the court towards womens equality. She was brilliant. And this is just one more example of the central role that race has played in benefiting all Americans. It’s the genius of the black struggle in America.
States rights is the very tool that Donald Trump is using to negate federal responsibility by turning the coronavirus over to Governors, arguing it is their responsibility under the 10th Amendment, with his refusal to have a national mask mandate as well as his use of the 10 Amendment to undermine the credibility of nearly every federal agency and institution. It has led some to suggest that Donald Trump is our country’s first confederate president.
This is just one of the many applications and certainly the most current one, of the 10th amendment’s use since slavery. The 10 Amendment’s, insisted and added to the bill of rights by the slave states, is solely responsible for the failure to build a more perfect union and the resultant national discord in every generation. It was conceived in the sin of slavery, and it continues to frustrate our nation’s progress and goals at every level of American life.
What should be the selection criteria given this history? A nominee must have a proven record of the elevation of human rights over state and federal rights, God or Creator endowed rights of every individual must always have primacy, in the nations jurisprudential thinking.
The new Congress is sworn in on January 3rd before the inauguration. Mitch McConnell understands this schedule. It is not easy for anyone to believe that Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump Cabal will wait for the dignity of a funeral for one of our nations most luminous figures. President George W. Bush appointed Clarence Thomas to succeed Thurgood Marshall on the court. Both are black men but ideological opposites. President Donald Trump promises to promote a woman to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her ideological opposite.
We must look beyond the incidences of race and sex when filling vacancies on the court. We must understand that supreme court nominations are a function of ideology overtime not race and sex overtime.