Opinion

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Morphs Into Emma Lazarus

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Posted: Sep 24, 2020 10:51 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Morphs Into Emma Lazarus

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

The granddaughter of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clara Spera, claims that among the final words of Justice Ginsburg were these: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

I do not know Ms. Spera, nor do I necessarily believe that Justice Ginsburg said these words. Watching my own parents die from cancer, one thing I distinctly recall is that worldly matters no longer concerned them in the final weeks of their lives. My father had been an intellectual, politically engaged, current events-oriented man his entire life. Every day he read the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times through. Yet in the weeks prior to his death, he completely lost interest in political affairs. I remember sitting in a hospital room with him in the final weeks, trying to make conversation by discussing an article in the paper, which we routinely did in better days, but he turned away, clearly letting me know that it held no interest for him. As he came to terms with his own imminent passing, preparing for the next stage, the issues of this world no longer concerned him.

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Ms. Spera is being truthful and not merely a parrot for the Democratic Party, which has embraced Justice Ginsburg’s putative words like those of the Oracle of Delphi. Let’s say that Justice Ginsburg uttered them. So what?

Her wish, as reportedly expressed, would have been understandable, and probably the same fervent wish any Supreme Court justice similarly situated would have had. But her desire holds no weight legally, morally, ethically, or by any other metric known to man. There is a constitutionally prescribed procedure for the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices dictated by Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, which says that the president shall nominate and the Senate shall confirm (through its “advice and consent” role) the president’s nominee for the high court. It’s called the Appointments Clause. There is no proviso by which a living justice, whether robust of health or nearing death, shall have any say in the selection of his or her successor whatsoever.

To listen to Democratic leaders from Chuck Schumer on down caterwaul, one would think that President Trump and the Senate Republicans are required by law to assign some weight to this pablum purportedly spoken by Ms. Spera’s Bubbie, rather than it being a personal sentiment shared between loved ones in a death bed conversation.

I am reminded of a battle (there have been so many, it seems like eons ago) in the early days of the Trump Administration. It took place a mere three years ago, in August 2017. Remember 2017? I know. It feels like decades have passed. Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue had sponsored a skills-based immigration bill (Horrors!) that President Trump had endorsed called the "Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act." The bill was designed to end chain migration and ensure that people who came to our shores had skills and would not become charges of the state.

The president’s brilliant senior advisor, Stephen Miller, who had a hand in crafting the legislation, uncharacteristically stepped up to the podium at a White House press conference to defend the proposed bill. Miller had one of the administration’s more entertaining exchanges with a dopey journalist in that forum to that point, and one which should be required viewing for any aspiring White House official ever forced to address the press jackals. CNN’s Jim Acosta opened a “question” to Miller (really, a diatribe) about the immigration bill by reading a portion of Emma Lazarus’s poem found inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…,” suggesting that the sentiments expressed by Lazarus in her poem reflected official U.S. government immigration policy.

Acosta proceeded to filibuster Miller, as Miller attempted to educate Acosta about the intricacies and wisdom of the proposed legislation, and hilarity ensued. The point, though, is that just as in the case of Justice Ginsburg’s final “Rosebud” words, which Democrats everywhere are using as an emotional lever to sway public opinion in the selection of a new Supreme Court justice, Acosta used the sentimentality of a 19th century poet to try to shame administration officials drafting sane immigration policies.

The appeal by Democrats to emotion over reason is, of course, their stock in trade. See clueless young white liberal girls screaming like lunatics at law enforcement officers in rants about black lives mattering, while hurling Molotov cocktails and assorted projectiles. Do they ever consider the 40 percent of black babies murdered in the womb every year through abortion? The thousands of black men murdered every year by other black men in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore and other Democrat-run cities?  If black lives really mattered, their energies are misdirected. These young rioters are clearly emotionally unbalanced and incontinent, but it is precisely that emotion-fueled rage on which the organizers of the mayhem are relying.

It is not my purpose to denigrate an old woman who, disagree with her or not, devoted her life to the service of her country, but the cynical exploitation and sheer mendacity of today’s Democratic Party and its leaders are such that one cannot accept anything they say at face value.

If Justice Ginsburg actually said these words to Ms. Spera, that’s nice. Ms. Spera should relate the story to her children and grandchildren. But as for selecting the next associate justice, or crafting immigration policy, we should look to the Constitution and those duly charged with doing both.  

William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private, and non-profit sectors for more than 33 years. He is a senior investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc., and a contributor to Townhall, American Thinker, and The Federalist. Follow him on Parler and Twitter at @BillMarshallDC1. (The views expressed are the author’s alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.)