Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ... might have been astonished by the breadth and depth of the court's decisions to eviscerate protections for access to the polls and a woman's ability to obtain an abortion. — Jessica Levinson, Loyola Law School Clinical Professor of Law
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ... might have been astonished by the breadth and depth of the court's decisions to eviscerate protections for access to the polls and a woman's ability to obtain an abortion. — Jessica Levinson, Loyola Law School Clinical Professor of Law

It's a decision that she must make for herself, and when government controls that decision for her, she's being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices. — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
It's a decision that she must make for herself, and when government controls that decision for her, she's being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices. — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg said time and again that we will never have true gender equality in the absence of women having reproductive freedom. — Amanda Tyler, Berkeley Law professor and former clerk for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Ginsburg said time and again that we will never have true gender equality in the absence of women having reproductive freedom. — Amanda Tyler, Berkeley Law professor and former clerk for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Supreme Court's actions on abortion and voting rights would have stunned RBG
Over the last year, the Supreme Court has not only allowed a Texas law that bars abortion after as early as six weeks into pregnancy take effect, but it announced it will hear a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade during the upcoming term in a case out of Mississippi. In addition, last July, the court scaled back voting protections in a dispute that followed the most litigious presidential election in history.

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg knew that laws about voting rights and reproductive choice are not abstract legal ideals," Jessica A. Levinson of Loyola Law School told CNN. "But she might have been astonished by the breadth and depth of the court's decisions to eviscerate protections for access to the polls and a woman's ability to obtain an abortion."


The two issues represent a part of Ginsburg's legacy built over her near 30-year tenure on the high court. She was a prolific supporter of access to abortion and contraceptive coverage, and she condemned efforts to weaken the Voting Rights Act. Indeed, in 2013 after the Court gutted a key provision of the historic law, Ginsburg issued an opinion that reverberated throughout a new generation of progressive activists who came to refer to her as the "Notorious RBG." The majority's move to scale back the law, Ginsburg famously wrote, was like "throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

Because Ginsburg died just weeks before Election Day, then-President Donald Trump was able to replace her with a conservative justice, Amy Coney Barrett -- a move with critical implications.

After Barrett took the bench, the court considered the Mississippi case for months behind closed doors before finally announcing it would hear arguments next term and decide a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability, which can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The justices, in agreeing to take up the case and consider the law that bars most abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, will hear the most important abortion dispute in some 30 years.

Barrett also provided the critical vote early this month when the court allowed the Texas law that bars abortion before most women even know they are pregnant to go into effect pending appeal.

And last term, she was in the majority when the court broke along traditional ideological lines and upheld two controversial Arizona provisions that restricted how ballots could be cast.

Supporters of abortion rights fear that Barrett's votes will undermine Ginsburg's legacy when it comes to abortion.

During her confirmation hearing in 1993, Ginsburg declared: "There is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity."

"It's a decision that she must make for herself," she continued, "and when government controls that decision for her, she's being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices."

On the bench, she repeatedly ruled in favor of reproductive rights.


In 2007 when the court upheld a federal law that barred so-called "partial birth abortion," Ginsburg dissented. She took issue with the majority's contention that "women who have abortions come to regret their choices, and consequently suffer from '[s]evere depression and loss of esteem.'"

"This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution -- ideas that have long since been discredited," Ginsburg said.

... "Justice Ginsburg said time and again that we will never have true gender equality in the absence of women having reproductive freedom," said Amanda Tyler, a former Ginsburg law clerk who was writing a book with the justice at the time of her death.

"The two are inextricably intertwined," Tyler said.

... Ginsburg would not only have disputed the case on the merits, but those who know her said she would have called out the procedural tactics.


"Ginsburg was a consistent voice for procedural integrity at the Court," Tyler said. "She would have been up in arms over the court allowing such a restrictive law to go into effect in direct contravention of longstanding precedent and while the court has a pending merits case before it implicating the same core issues."

"We are now seeing just how profoundly unfortunate her absence from the Court is, given that her vote could have stayed the Texas law from going into effect," Tyler concluded.
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/17/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-supreme-court-abortion-voting-rights/index.html