As the public mourning for the death of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg finally fades into the News media’s archived timelines, we are currently in the quiet before the maelstrom that is sure to come when the hearings begin as to whether judge Amy Coney Barrett will fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. It is within this interim period that it seems appropriate to take one last look at what sort of legacy Ginsburg may ultimately leave behind.
Ginsburg had already been a Federal Circuit Judge for 13 years when she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court in 1993. She had built a reputation for establishing legal rights and opening up opportunities for women and minorities throughout her entire legal career. Many of her accomplishments have now become so firmly rooted in American culture, that it is easy for many of today’s young people to take those rights and opportunities for granted.
However, when the lives of the historical movers and shakers of our times straddle both living memory and recorded history, a problem very often arises. The passing on of a known reputation into a presumed legacy may not always turn out the way it’s originator may have envisioned or wanted. In regards to Ginsburg, one place where this lapse between memory and knowledge has already manifested itself is in the moniker she was known by to the “granted taking” entitled young women of today, “the Notorious R.B.G.”
The nickname came from a meme created by an NYU law student back in 2015 and was a play on the stage name of a gangster rapper named The Notorious B.I.G. It was given to her because of how her pronouncements from the bench were seen as empowering to the prevailing feminist agenda and pro-abortion activism (but I repeat myself) of the day. Through the magic of the internet, Ginsburg rose to rock star status in the form of memes, t-shirts, and books written about her.
The appellation was clearly the product of a vapid internet culture and a coddled and progressively-minded youth who saw in Ginsburg a more polished expression of the rebellious and anti-establishment sentiments that tend to define such youth. While it’s easy to see how such a privileged class of people would take such a Rousseauian or “noble” view of gangster rap and the “thug life” and attach it to Ginsburg, one can’t help but notice that the moniker has taken on a kind of Nomen est Omen quality to it.
For while Ginsburg had a very full legal career, it appears that the “notorious” nature of her legacy will, for all intents and purposes, be associated with one thing.
It’s Wasn’t About Justice
The news story which claimed that Ginsburg dictated to her granddaughter and others present, that she desired that her seat on the Court not be filled until a new president is chosen, epitomizes the change in the character of the Judicial branch of government in general and the Supreme Court in particular, has underwent in the 27 years she spent on the bench.
First off, for the record, the United States is not an aristocracy or some sort of "Make A Wish" organization, so we don’t bequeath political positions to people or make policy decisions based on a dying wish. Secondly, Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court was and is not her seat, just like the Oval Office is not Trump’s office; they are both governmental spaces or positions that existed before and will outlast all those who temporarily hold those places. Thirdly, and most importantly, to even imply that such a deathbed wish should be taken seriously makes a mockery of our Constitution and the very democratic principles that the politicians who are peddling this story, ostensibly swore to uphold.
Nevertheless, this is where we are. The whole notion of us living in a constitutional republic, where the government’s job is to safeguard certain inalienable and God-given rights, as well as a process of judicial review that is in accordance with the Constitution has largely been superseded. This isn’t justice, this is legislating from the bench, by federal judges who have increasingly used the courts to mandate policies according to their own progressive predilections. Ginsburg was a key player in this process, even if it meant ignoring or stifling the rights of others, and in particular one key right.
The Power of Death Over Life
When President Trump and the First Lady Melania paid their respects to Ginsburg outside the Supreme Court, the crowds that had gathered outside the building shouted “Vote him out” and “Honor her wish.” But they also began engaging in a rather demonic wailing that eerily reminded me of a demonstration I had watched of an Aztec death whistles being blown. Given that the whistles were believed to have been blown before heading into battle, in order to obtain prisoners to be sacrificed in their bloody rituals, the comparison is an apt one.
The power that Ginsburg wielded in so “notorious” a manner as a judge and public figure, will not be remembered for her stance of free speech, religious liberty, or the Second Amendment, but for her support for abortion. A support that went way beyond the original first trimester restrictions of Roe vs. Wade, and which eventually would include abortion throughout all nine months, rejecting any bans on partial-birth abortions, and even post-partum care as Virginia’s governor Northam openly stated. A support that philosophically went from safe, legal, and rare to exhortations to shout one’s abortion. In short, it is a support for abortion that has become so extreme that nothing, nothing, can be perceived as standing in the way of protecting that allegedly Constitutional right. Even if it means being willing accomplices to mendaciously smearing the reputation of Brett Kavanaugh at his Judicial confirmation hearing and by protesting at his swearing in and actually trying to force the doors to the inner chamber of the Supreme Court open!
There simply appears to be no limit to what Ginsburg's supporters will do in her name to protect the right to abortion. At some point one has to wonder whether ordinary people can look at the progression and intensity of the support for abortion by Ginsburg and all those who call themselves her heirs, and think that perhaps things have slipped the leased a bit.
And at the End of the Day, comes the End
Motivational speaker Earl Nightingale used to say that “no successful businessman ever said on his deathbed ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office’.” Assuming Ginsburg really did make a last wish about her successor, the exception to Nightingale’s rule seems to be the Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Here was a woman who could have (and should have) stepped down from the bench when she was first diagnosed with a cancer that has one of the lowest survival rates. At the very least, she should not have lied about the actual state of her health over the years. Instead, she, like other elderly statesmen like Joe Biden or Uncle Bernie cling to their lives and the power they wield in it, as though this life is all there really is.
And yet as the Book of Ecclesiastes states, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...a time to be born, and a time to die.” To what extent Ginsburg’s Jewish upbringing shaped her beliefs about the afterlife is uncertain, but what is almost certain is that she was familiar with those words, and hence would have known that the book's author concludes that at the end of our lives, “But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”
Ginsburg made her choices and lived her “notorious” life according to those choices, and over the course of that life, not once did she ever waver from a philosophy that allowed for the state-endorsement killing of tens of millions of the unborn Americans. A philosophy that, again from perspective of her religious upbringing, she would have known was morally wrong according to the Noahide Covenant, as well as from the light of human reason. Thus she could not claim any sort of invincible ignorance for of the gravity of her actions. So just as Our Lord warned us that we cannot serve God and Mammon, we also cannot serve God and Moloch.
It is here that we can see the true significance of having the word “Notorious” being associated with the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that is based on an older meaning of the word. The modern word comes from the Medieval Latin notorius which meant “well-known” and notorium which meant “an indictment or criminal charge.” Hence, to be “notorious” meant being someone who was well-known, but could also mean someone who was well-known for acts deserving of a criminal indictment. In regards to Ginsburg, the moniker became part of her name, the name became part of her life, and in the end it has become an indictment of the life she lived.
It is a legacy that will live on in this life, and possibly in the next. For as Catholic commentator Michael Voris recently remarked,
“When Ginsburg closed her eyes in this world- forever, and opened her eyes in eternity- forever...the tens of millions victims of hers and other’s 'choices' were brought before the throne of God at her judgement so she could see the fullness of her evil choices in this life. She would not admit or confront her evil in this life, so she made to do so in the next.”
With that in mind, we should certainly be faithful to our Lord and pray for the repose of her soul, we should also realize that while our Lord’s mercy endures forever, so does his justice. Pray that Ruth Bade Ginsburg’s soul will chose the former rather than enduring the latter. For just as we saw a whole lot of cursing, gnashing of teeth, and Aztec whistle-like wailing aimed at the President at Ginsburg’s memorial on this side of the veil, they are happening forever on the other side as well.
Photo Credit- Chicago Tonight- WTTW