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Ginsburg's death leaves questions surrounding the future of America's highest court

Posted at 8:00 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 21:00:05-04

After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bater Ginsberg died this weekend. As memorials in her honor continue to grow across the country, her death leaves a vacant seat in the highest court in the United States.

Ginsberg’s death is a huge loss for Liberals and Democrats in general. The gender equality pioneer and champion for women's rights has inspired women across the country. Even in her death, her impact lingers on.

“She had a profound effect on me, influencing need to public service and to always keep fighting. It’s still hard to process for me,” said Poppy Northcutt.

As the president of Texas’s National Organization for Women, Northcutt has always had a fighting spirit for women's rights. She says the loss of a woman who was one of the driving forces in her career is indescribable.

"The ability to cross the aisle, so to speak, and actually bring those more conservative members along, that kind of leadership isn’t just something that happens. That’s a real skill,” Northcutt said.

Northcutt says Ginsberg was extremely strategic with the way she attacked and examined the law. Landmark cases like Roe v. Wade, that protects a woman's right to an abortion, are now subject to a possible a reversal. That right is one Ginsberg most recently fought for in March of this year.

“To not have biology be destiny, all those decisions could be taken away and to be dictated by the government,” said Northcutt.

“If the new nominee is as conservative in Justice Kavanaugh, I think Rove v. Wade will be in serious danger,” said Dr. Jeffery Dixon, Associate Professor of Political Science at A&M Central Texas.

Not only are reversals of landmark cases in question, but the loss of a liberal vote like Ginsberg's would have an impact of the future votes in the Supreme Court.

“With the loss of that one vote, a lot of 5-4 decisions that were decided by John Robert instead would depend on the vote of Brett Kavanaugh, the courts new median justice,” explained Dr. Dixon.

Though there has been a push by the Republican party to nominate a Supreme Court Justice to replace Ginsberg, Dr. Dixon says it may be in their best interest to wait.

“If you want to maximize Republican turn out, leaving this position unfilled then waiting until after Election Day may actually be in the Republican Party's best interest," he explained.

Though Ginsberg has passed, the work of the Supreme Court does not stop. Dr. Dixon says they will continue hear cases at the start of October.

If there is not someone nominated to replace Ginsberg, Dixon says there could be a 4-4 decision with only eight justices, in which the median justice, Brett Kavanaugh, would decide.