The unfortunate death of the liberal judge of the United States Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, brought to mind scenes that I witnessed as a Washington correspondent for the newspaper La Opinion on December 11, 2000, when the highest court heard the case’s arguments. Bush v. Gore in that year’s presidential election. On the night of December 12, the Supreme Court issued its ruling halting the counting of votes in Florida and granting the presidency to Republican George W. Bush in the election against Democrat Al Gore.
The division of the sides and the things that were shouted, which when compared with what happened during the Trump presidency, now seems like child’s play, was impressed on me first by the history of the situation and, second, because I It demonstrated the enormous power that Supreme Court decisions have in our lives; even, as in this case, deciding a presidential election by one vote, in a 5-4 ruling.
Bader Ginsburg was one of four justices who dissented on the landmark ruling. Another of those four judges, John Paul Stevens, wrote that “while we will never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the trust of the nation in the judge as the impartial guardian of the rule of law ”.
Twenty years later we are on the threshold of an election that promises to bring a tail, since President Donald Trump is proclaiming from the rooftops that the Democrats want to “steal” it through “electoral fraud”, even if it is he himself who is asking him people breaking the law by voting twice, by mail and in person. The most ironic thing is that it is Trump himself who nominates the successor of a liberal judge who has left her mark in so many cases that went through the Supreme Court, and in so many others that she defended before the same court, like a lawyer whose north it was the equal rights of women and other minorities in a world dominated by white men. And that tilts in its favor the ideological balance of the highest court that would potentially hear a case to challenge the electoral results,
As if there is not enough division in the country, division instigated by Trump for electoral purposes, now we add the battle for the Supreme nomination in the middle of the pandemic that the president failed to handle, but which has now gone to the background. before the drama of the nomination just over 40 days before the general elections in person, because the early and absentee vote or by mail is in progress.
Elections happen to have consequences. It is something that those who stayed at home in 2016 must have understood by now because they did not like Hillary Clinton as a candidate and thought that she would win over Trump anyway without their support. Many of those have been lamenting Trump’s outrages for nearly four years, but now they say Joe Biden doesn’t excite them. That is, they prefer another four years of outrage because the Democratic candidate does not meet all their expectations.
Now Trump is preparing to appoint a third judge, or in this case possibly a conservative Supreme Court justice, who tilts the ideological balance of the highest court with the potential to reverse laws that impact us at all levels.
If you have health coverage thanks to Obamacare, even many Republicans who have benefited from the law, that would be in jeopardy because the Trump administration is hell-bent on overthrowing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. Similarly, laws that have to do with immigration, refugees, the right to abortion, labor protections, civil rights protections of minorities, women, the LBGTQ community, the equal rights of women, gender discrimination or in all its manifestations, same-sex marriages, climate change, electoral laws. The list of issues that a conservative-majority Supreme Court could consider and alter is long and you should care.
The next time you say you don’t care who is nominated for the Supreme Court, remember that the decisions of that court impact many issues in their lives.
And the next time you think your vote doesn’t matter and has no consequences, look at who’s president now and remember that you can stay four more years if those who can vote don’t.
Because not exercising your right to vote has serious consequences.