The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has once again put Iowa’s senators in the spotlight, making them vital voices and votes for the future of our nation and for our individual rights.
In the wake of Ginsburg’s death and the resulting vacancy on the Supreme Court, President Donald Trump is moving to push through a court nomination before the election. And we ask our senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, to oppose this action — and should the president force through a nominee before the election, to vote against that person, no matter who it is.
This nomination could invariably change not only the make up of the Supreme Court, whose nine-member vote is so often in the balance, but cast into doubt the status of our bodily autonomy.
That’s right, our bodily autonomy. The lesson of Justice Ginsburg’s life and work was showing that an attack on women’s rights was also an attack on everyone’s rights. Through her judicial expertise and legal acumen, she argued not just on behalf of women’s rights, but men’s rights.
In both the case of Craig v. Boren, which established that the legal age for men to buy beer should not be higher than women’s, or in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, which allowed men to claim social security benefits as widowers, Ginsburg argued that an attack on one of us is an attack on all. If women aren’t treated as equal, then neither are men.
This, coupled with her judicial restraint, is what prompted Grassley in 1993 to call Ginsburg a “Democratic nominee that even conservatives could love.”
It’s precisely this legacy that our senators should vote to preserve.
In 2016, Grassley refused to vote on Merrick Garland, then-President Obama’s nominee to fill the spot left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. At the time, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley issued a statement noting, “A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice.”
In July, Grassley affirmed his commitment to this standard of not appointing a Supreme Court Justice during an election year.
But as Iowans, we have all too often seen how our senators are willing to cast aside their principles for party politics. It wasn’t that long ago that Grassley, who voted to convict in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, refused to convict Trump. Both senators have proved to be reliable party-line voters for one of the most corrupt presidents in American history.
So, we urge Grassley as an editorial board, as his constituents, as people whose constitutional rights are on the line, to hold himself to the standard he set in 2016, and refuse to support the president’s efforts to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg.
As far as Iowa’s other senator, Joni Ernst, we urge her to do the same. Unlike Grassley, Ernst has said she’d support a politically craven push by the president to fill the vacancy this year. But unlike Grassley, Ernst faces a tight reelection race. Her ability to hold onto her senate seat is threatened by the her legacy of playing party politics.
Ernst promised Iowans she’d fight corruption in Washington. Instead, she’s enabled it, by always being a party line voter for a president who, through inaction and dangerous denialism, has sat by as 200,000 Americans have died.
As an editorial board, as constituents and again, as humans whose rights are at risk, we urge Ernst to reconsider her position and show Iowans that she’s the independent voice they voted for, and stand against this judicial appointment until the will of the American voters is known.
And for our readers, we urge you to call our senators and let them know that they should fight against a Supreme Court nomination before the election.
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There is too much at stake for our senators to play politics as usual. This is the fight of our lives for our lives. We need leaders who will protect us from the political machinations that seek to upend all of our rights.
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