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Midlands Voices: Honor Ginsburg's legacy by voting responsibly

Midlands Voices: Honor Ginsburg's legacy by voting responsibly

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Ginsburg makes history again, lying in state at Capitol (copy)

The flag-draped casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. 

Our country has lost one of the greatest jurists in our nation’s history. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, was nothing short of a warrior for gender equality and workers’ rights.

The vacancy left behind by Justice Ginsburg demands careful and thoughtful deliberation, not an immediate power grab. But unfortunately, we’re seeing blatant hypocrisy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said just hours after Justice Ginsburg’s death was announced that the Senate will hold a vote on President Trump’s replacement nominee, a complete reversal of his position on President Obama’s election-year nomination in 2016.

As reported in the Omaha World-Herald article on Sept. 22, our own Senator Deb Fischer in a letter to a constituent regarding President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in 2016 stated that “It has not been the practice of the Senate to fill a Supreme Court vacancy that arises during an election year” and further wrote that she agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who cited the no-election-year-confirmation argument in blocking Garland’s nomination.

Mitch McConnell and many other U.S. senators, including Sen. Fischer and Sen. Ernst of Iowa, are now taking the opposite position and pushing ahead to receive a new nominee for Justice Ginsburg’s replacement, despite their position in 2016.

The American people want a Supreme Court that is just and fair. The American people are mourning not just the loss of Justice Ginsburg, but the preventable loss of 200,000 Americans to COVID-19. The American people must make sure that under no circumstances should the Senate consider a replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after the election.

How do we do this? We must vote. With every ounce of determination we have left, we must pour our hearts into making sure our peers, loved ones, colleagues and even strangers have the tools they need to turn the page on 2020. This is how we honor the life of Justice Ginsburg and all of those taken away from us in this difficult year.

Susan L. Martin is president/treasurer of the Nebraska State AFL-CIO.

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