Monday, September 21, 2020

Ruth Badger Ginsburg (Ava and C.I.)


Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead and that's sad as it is when anyone dies.  The sadness is mitigated by the fact that she had a long life -- everyone doesn't make it to 87.  That's especially true of the poor.

As Senator Bernie Sanders' office has noted in the past:

For women in the United States there is a 12-year gap in life expectancy between wealthy Marin County, Calif., where the average person lives to be 85 years old, and Perry County, Ky., with an average life expectancy of 73 years. 

 American men live the longest in Fairfax County, Va. Life expectancy for men in the wealthy Washington, D.C. suburbs is 82 years compared to 64 for men in McDowell County, W. Va., just 350 miles away. 

 Nationwide, the poor have higher rates of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and disability, according to Dr. Steven Woolf, director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The lower people’s income, the earlier they die and the sicker they live,” he said. “Neighborhoods in Boston and Baltimore have a lower life expectancy than Ethiopia and Sudan. Azerbajian has a higher life expectancy than areas of Chicago.”

Last year at THE NEW REPUBLIC, Roge Karma observed:


One of the most disquieting facts about life in the United States today is that the richest American men live 15 years longer than the poorest men, while for women it’s 10 years. Put a different way, the life expectancy gap between rich and poor in the U.S. is wider than the gap between the average American and the average Yemeni or Ethiopian.

OPEN SECRETS notes that Ginsburg was the wealthiest sitting justice on the Supreme Court, worth approximately $28 million.  That allowed her comfort as she battled cancer repeatedly  Pancreatic cancer led to her death and she's been battling it since 2009.  As Rebecca notes, Ruth should have retired at least four years ago.  Can you battle cancer and do a job?  Yes, you can.  (Note one of us is currently battling cancer.)  But can you battle cancer and do a good -- or even adequate job -- in a position of such importance?  We'd argue no.


Her death raises other issues including who will replace her.  Had she retired four years ago, then-President Barack Obama would have been in charge of selecting a nominee to replace her.


But Ruth gambled that her cancer wouldn't claim her life under a Republican president.  She was wrong.  Mike noted Jane Fonda's character in FUN WITH DICK AND JANE stating, "You gambled.  You lost. What about me? I gambled and I lost and I didn't even get a chance to play."  Exactly right, Ruth gambled and we lost.


We expect justices to exercise good judgment.  Clearly, they are not meeting that expectation   We need a mandatory retirement age for justices.  This idea of serve until you drop dead is not acceptable.  

A lot of what's going on is unacceptable.  For example?  Legal scholar's Jonathan Turley offered . . . what?  Garbage, honestly.  We love you, Jonathan, but your opinion is garbage.  It's sweet garbage -- God bless Ruth she was wonderful blah blah blah blah.  What a load of crap.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead -- and that's a good thing.  The bad part of it is that her death didn't come much sooner.  That's the hard but honest take -- the one Jonathan refuses to make.


Why do we say she should have died sooner?


She spent her last five years destroying the Court.  You can pretend otherwise, but that's the reality.


Pretenders insist that Ruth was The Notorious RBG -- they do that because assholes culturally appropriate.  Stealing from a dead African-American male is what a bunch of dumb White people do.  (And, yes, this group of dumb White people is largely women.)


Idiots cheered Ruth on when they should have slammed her.


She did real damage and that damage will be recognized with future appointees to the Court.


Ruth injected herself into issues when she should have kept her damn mouth shut.  If something is likely to be decided by the Court, you don't comment publicly.  That's not our rule, that's the rule that's always been.


Maybe it was the cancer, maybe it was the adulation, maybe it was old age.  Whatever it was, Ruth repeatedly gave interviews where she weighed in on issues that were working their way up to the highest court.


Even worse, in 2015, she began commenting on the presidential race.  No one needed her comments.  They were foolish and they were wrong.  They never should have been made.  The fact that she eventually acknowledged that doesn't erase the comments.


And, in a few years, when some new, conservative justice on the Court weighs in on a presidential election and we on the left are outraged -- will we be honest enough to trace it back to where it started?  To trace it back to Sainted Ruth?


Ruth's dead.  That's sad and that's also good.  If she'd just done the job she was tasked with, we could mourn and mourn only.  But she violated established ethics and, as a result, covering her death requires more honesty than many are currently providing.


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