Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death may affect the 2020 election

Ruth Bader Ginsbergs death may influence how people vote in the 2020 election

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Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death may influence how people vote in the 2020 election

Heather Suraci, Editor-in-chief

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. The trailblazing justice was 87.

Justice Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and in recent years served as the most senior member of the court’s liberal wing, consistently delivering progressive votes on the most divisive social issues of the day, including same-sex marriage, voting rights, abortion rights, health care, immigration, and affirmative action. She never shied away from advocating for what she truly believed in and fought for justice on significant issues.

Because of her death being less than seven weeks before Election Day, a political fight over the future of the court has become a fierce debate. Addressing the liberal justice’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday evening, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

So, the question of impact boils down to this: if the coming fight over the Supreme Court is going to affect the election, it will affect it by changing the mobilization of women voters in the suburbs. In some places it might help bring voters back to Trump, helping him win narrow victories in key states. In other places, it might energize even more voters to vote for Biden. With the Supreme Court in play, abortion rights are front and center. But support for and opposition to legal abortion is so baked into our partisan preferences that it may not make much of a difference in the election.

There are other big issues before the Court: the future of Obamacare, voting rights, and LGBTQ rights, to name a few. All of these issues will mobilize voters in what is shaping up to be one of the most intense elections in our lifetime. It is not at all clear that the fight over the Supreme Court vacancy, consequential as it is for our future, will be as consequential in November.