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RBG’s fourth cancer bout is stressing me out

Last week, evil, America-hating, fake news liberals like myself received a reality check.

The Supreme Court reported Friday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg completed radiation treatment for a malignant tumor on her pancreas. I'm relieved the treatment was successful and she took it like a champ, but I can't take the stress of another health crisis

This latest crisis is the liberal hero's fourth bout of cancer over the past 20 years. Her first was with colon cancer in 1999, followed by pancreatic cancer in 2009 and an operation to remove cancerous nodules from her lungs in December 2018. Through each treatment, her work ethic never wavered and she didn't miss a day of oral arguments until the lung cancer in the winter.

Both that and this newly-reported pancreatic cancer treatment should give pause to everyone that cares about a just judicial future in this country. RBG has been the oldest justice for nearly 10 years now, and as she continues to age, we need to seriously consider what will happen if she can't overcome the next health crisis.

If RBG dies before the next president is inaugurated (she's already said she won't be retiring any time soon), the president and Republican-controlled Senate will cement a conservative bent to the federal courts that will last for much of our lifetimes.

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in early 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was quick to say he would block any nominee that then-President Barack Obama would put forward.

"The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," McConnell said.

It goes without saying, then, he would keep his logic consistent for 2020, right? Surely he would want to live up to the prestige of the Senate and let the American people have a voice again.

Nope.

"Oh we'd fill it," McConnell said when asked about whether he would allow an empty seat to be filled in 2020.

President Donald Trump would have a third opportunity to appoint a strong conservative to that seat. That would give him the most Supreme Court appointments since Ronald Reagan, who appointed three and elevated one to Chief Justice.

And the president would likely follow through in a big way. Reporting from Axios indicates that the president is "saving" Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a young Catholic and likely opponent of Roe v. Wade, to take RBG's seat.

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The idea of "saving" a strong conservative to replace a liberal icon like Ginsburg should motivate everyone even slightly left of center to get out and vote for the Democratic nominee in 2020.

If we don't do that, it becomes more likely than not that President Trump could create a six to three conservative majority that's poised to do some serious damage to the country.

Just this past term, the conservative majority voted for the federal courts to stay out of partisan gerrymandering, which will continue to dilute the voting power of people all over the country and across the political spectrum without court intervention.

In addition, all but one conservative justice voted in favor of the president's desire to put a citizenship question on the U.S. Census. To uphold this use of executive power would've drastically shifted political power away from minority communities.

If a six to three majority happens, we can expect more cases like these to be taken up by the court.

The October term is packed with cases on issues including gun rights, employment protections for LGBTQ workers and protections for DREAMers. Aboriton could also return to the court in the next term or two.

If we lose RBG, we lose someone who has spent her career fighting for the rights of women everywhere. We lose a justice and an advocate that stands for what's right in every case, regardless of partisanship and politics. We lose someone who thinks the Constitution ought to be interpreted to fit the time we're living in now, not 1789.

Thankfully, we still have her. But that might not be true for much longer. If the timing isn't right, her death will reverberate for years to come.

deeterbj@miamioh.edu

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