The spontaneous who congregate outside the Supreme Court to pay tribute to the judge battle between grief and fear
Nobody summoned them, but hundreds arrived. Hours after it was learned that United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died at 87 from pancreatic cancer, the outskirts of the courthouse were packed with Washington residents who came to pay tribute. Mothers with their daughters, same-sex couples, whites, African Americans, and Latinos; some intoned Amazing Grace, other Jewish songs. The anonymous people for whom the magistrate had fought since 1993 in the highest court of justice came en masse to thank her. They shared grief, but also fear. Her death leaves the door open for Donald Trump to choose the candidate to replace her less than 50 days before the presidential elections. “In political terms, this is going to get ugly in the coming weeks,” predicts Jhonatan Styles, 34.
Before leaving home to approach the Supreme, Danielle, 23, put on the documentary RGB, on the history of the magistrate. “I felt that immediately becoming nervous about what may happen now did not do justice to her legacy. I wanted to have a moment to remember their fight for women, minorities ”, she says near the stairs filled with bouquets of flowers, lit candles that battle with the wind to keep from going out and messages of thanks. She is accompanied by Moni, the same age, who was familiar with the judge’s work since she studied at Cornell, the same university in Gingburg. “Her death is a bomb for our country because we do not know what will happen in the Supreme Court or in the fight for justice in general,” she laments. The two friends are part of the bulk of attendees gathered behind the Capitol: young women.
In Washington, the capital of power, a public servant can generate more traction than a rock star. Few of them succeed, but once they enter that club, a kind of popular cult is generated around their figures. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or RBG, as she is also known, is one of them. Graffiti on the walls with her face, jerseys and T-shirts with the initials of her name, candles, mugs, and in times of pandemic, even the judge’s masks. Cleo Dintilhac, a 31-year-old Frenchwoman who approached around midnight to the steps of the Supreme Court, confesses that she had a “culture shock” when she came to live in Washington due to the popularity of the magistrate that, in her perception, increased since the arrival of Trump to power. “Something that illustrates well how much people loved her was a poster hanging on the street that read: ‘Please wear a mask, we are close to where RGB lives,” he says.
Although youth dominated among the spontaneous who reached the highest court located in the heart of the American capital, several older people were also seen. Regardless of age, the uncertainty about what was coming in the political plane was repeated among the congregation. Rachel Donagan, 50, believes that if until now someone could not find a sufficient reason to vote in the November 3 elections, they will find it now. “If Trump does not manage to put a judge in the remainder of his term, if he is re-elected he will confirm it in the second. So that this does not happen, I hope that people vote ”, she maintains. Her friend Kelly Queen is “terrified” that the US president is running for someone now and it will lead to a wave of street violence.
Ginsburg’s vacancy on the Supreme Court allows Trump to elect a third judge during his term. The judicial body is composed of nine members and they are positions for life. The Republican has already appointed Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to his Administration, and another judge gives him a chance to further solidify the conservative majority on the court, which has already leaned to the right for its two previous appointments.