Supporters of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have recently taken to social media in a call for violence should she be replaced by President Trump. What they don’t seem to realize is that they’re actually dishonoring her memory by doing this.
As soon as Justice Ginsburg passed away, conflicting quotes began emerging. One was of the late justice saying she didn’t want her position filled until there was a new president, and the other was of how people should respect one another despite disagreement.
Nancy Pelosi is threatening impeachment, and followers of Ginsburg have been taking to social media to voice their violent anger at the mere thought of President Trump replacing her.
What people aren’t remembering is as much as a passionate trailblazer as Ginsburg was, she did not advocate for violence – she advocated against it. Consider the following RBG quotes:
“Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
“Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”
Reflecting on these quotes by the late justice, why are her supporters not listening or acting in accordance? If they really knew so much about Ginsburg and her life’s work, they wouldn’t be threatening violence. She allegedly said she didn’t want to be replaced until a new president is installed. But for her supporters to create anger and destruction in response to her last wish is counter to the civility that Ginsburg’s comments above advice. Ginsburg was, in fact, a proponent of peace when it came to disagreement.
“We may be anxious to reduce crime, but we should remember that in our system of justice, the presumption of innocence is prime, and the law cannot apply one rule to Joe who is a good man, and another to John, who is a hardened criminal.”
Read that again. She gives an important reminder of the importance of “innocent until proven guilty.” Many of her supporters are the same ones vandalizing buildings and attacking police officers under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement. Would someone who reminded people of the importance of respecting the justice system be pleased with this violence in the streets and threats on social media?
“Dissents speak to a future age,” Ginsburg said. “It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time, their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”
Despite some of her jurisprudence leading to immoral results, Ginsburg advocated for a better tomorrow and not just for women. Yes, she fought for women’s rights and equality to a degree, but she also wanted the law to be respected. She wanted people to be able to disagree with one another without going at each other’s throats.
The real way to honor Ginsburg’s memory is to live, to disagree, and to advance with betterment in a civil and respectful manner. Her supporters would be wise to remember that her impacts, as climactic as they were, never included throwing a brick through a building.