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Sat Sep 19, 2020, 11:54 AM

Charles Pierce: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Knew the Dark Elements in American History Never Die




https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a34083191/ruth-bader-ginsburg-dies-supreme-court/

I will remember her most for the umbrella in the rain.

It was 2013, and the Supreme Court was announcing its decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act and in which Chief Justice John Roberts declared the Day of Jubilee, writing:

Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. Shelby County contends that the preclearance requirement, even without regard to its disparate coverage, is now unconstitutional. Its arguments have a good deal of force. In the covered jurisdictions, “[v]oter turnout and registration rates now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.”

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg measured Roberts for a feckless child who understands less about this country and its history than he knows about Sumerian calligraphy. She told him in no uncertain terms what his fanciful decision would mean in the real world.

Congress approached the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA with great care and seriousness. The same cannot be said of the Court’s opinion today. The Court makes no genuine attempt to engage with the massive legislative record that Congress assembled. … One would expect more from an opinion striking at the heart of the Nation’s signal piece of civil-rights legislation...Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.

It was more than a clever metaphor, although clever it was. It was a statement of remarkable prescience, a statement from someone who knew that the dark elements in American history never die, but only sleep until the opportunity to wreak the old vengeances reveals itself again, as it almost always does. Justice Ginsburg fought those forces in the days when nobody even acknowledged their existence. Her career runs parallel to that of Justice Thurgood Marshall—two champions of freedom and equality who won great victories in front of a Court that they eventually were asked to join. It is a very small club. To join you need a will of iron, an unshakable granite commitment to principle, and a good measure of controlled, implacable ferocity. It is the ferocity that is the most important thing.

*snip*



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Reply Charles Pierce: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Knew the Dark Elements in American History Never Die (Original post)
Nevilledog Sep 19 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot Sep 19 #1
crickets Sep 19 #4
Solly Mack Sep 19 #2
dalton99a Sep 19 #3
Hekate Sep 19 #5

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 11:58 AM

1. This is what we all need right now:

"... a will of iron, an unshakable granite commitment to principle, and a good measure of controlled, implacable ferocity. It is the ferocity that is the most important thing." Let's get out there and be fierce, in memory of RBG and to save ourselves.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 01:24 PM

4. Hear, hear. nt

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 12:39 PM

2. K&R

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 12:54 PM

3. Kick

We should diverge briefly into the politics of the moment—which, it must be said, are sliding precipitously toward utter armageddon. The politics didn't wait for the body to cool. Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, caught in a desperate re-election campaign against Theresa Greenfield, was quick out of the gate to start fundraising on the vacancy on the Court that had so suddenly opened up. And Mitch McConnell was quick to demonstrate that he is the same soulless gremlin he's always been.

In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.


This is brave talk from a guy whose Senate majority is hanging by a thread right now. Senator Lisa Murkowski already has said she won't vote for anyone this president* nominates. Senator Lindsey Graham has been on record to the same effect for almost two years, and he's in the middle of a dead heat with Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison. The odds are they'll fold under pressure, but there's no predicting that at the moment. It's possible that Arizona's Martha McSally and Colorado's Cory Gardner are such lost causes that they'd vote for a nominee because why the hell not, but Susan Collins in Maine has to be sweating ball bearings. And that's not even to mention the sweaty, stumbling bull in this china shop who might decide to nominate his daughter, or Michael Flynn. I don't know what lies beyond chaos in constitutional government, but I think we're about to find out.

So I choose to honor the memory of Justice Ginsburg by honoring the controlled ferocity that burned in her small, wiry frame. I remember the first time I sat in on oral arguments in the Supreme Court. She looked as though her chair would swallow her up. But, when it became her turn to question the litigants, I swear to god it looked as though she grew as I was watching. The force and precision of the intellect she brought to bear gave her size and heft that made her look like a giant. She literally was bigger than life, right there before your eyes. It was an honor to watch her work. Now, the umbrella is gone and, Christamighty, is it ever raining.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat Sep 19, 2020, 02:38 PM

5. The dark elements of American history never die, but only sleep...

Charlie Pierce, wordsmith extraordinaire.

It was more than a clever metaphor, although clever it was. It was a statement of remarkable prescience, a statement from someone who knew that the dark elements in American history never die, but only sleep until the opportunity to wreak the old vengeances reveals itself again, as it almost always does. Justice Ginsburg fought those forces in the days when nobody even acknowledged their existence. Her career runs parallel to that of Justice Thurgood Marshall—two champions of freedom and equality who won great victories in front of a Court that they eventually were asked to join. It is a very small club. To join you need a will of iron, an unshakable granite commitment to principle, and a good measure of controlled, implacable ferocity. It is the ferocity that is the most important thing.

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