Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg worked wisely and steadily for decades to make the United States a more equitable place for women. Now many candidates are articulating praise for Ginsburg’s achievements and noting the need to continue her work. When you hear candidates expressing this sentiment, hold them accountable. Look at their websites, read their issue statements and verify that they support clear policy objectives that address the economic, social and legal disparities that continue to harm women.
Ginsburg knew, and we all know, that women still earn less than men, continue to face career-ending sexual harassment, continue to make up the majority of domestic violence victims, etc. If reproductive health is your concern, consider the reality that here in the U.S., our maternal mortality rates far exceed other countries’. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is 17.4 per 100,000 births — which means we are ranked 55th, between Russia (17 per 100,000) and Ukraine (19 per 100,000). Addressing this reality should be something that candidates across the political spectrum support. But it requires providing health care to all women of childbearing age — and many are not insured.
Ginsburg understood that women are equal to men. Hold candidates accountable and help ensure that one day they will actually be treated this way.
Julie Risser, Edina
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The great experiment of American democracy is a precarious tower of Jenga blocks, built on trust instilled in our institutions by our founding fathers and early Americans. These institutions create the structure of society, the rules to govern it and investments necessary to help everyday Americans live prosperous lives.
Over the past few years, this trust in government has been challenged by the likes of gerrymandering, the use of the filibuster, denying election interference and much more. Brick by brick, we’ve destabilized our tower and risk a topple seen by other countries that have allowed their institutions to do what is politically expedient or downright corrupt.
In President Barack Obama’s tribute to Ginsburg’s life, one of the lines that most resonated was, “A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”
Not only will trust in Congress plummet with a rushed Supreme Court nomination (Congress already had an abysmal rating of 4.1/10 on trustworthiness in 2017), but the legitimacy of our highest court will be called into question again. President Donald Trump’s previous appointment, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, wasn’t approved of by most Americans (according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll in 2018).
Where are two more Republican senators who will heed the patriotic call and reject an election-year Supreme Court nomination? Our Jenga tower needs you.
Erik Hillesheim, Eagan
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I am a conservative who usually votes Republican.
However, since Trump announced in 2015 he was running for president, he has not been my favorite person, nor president.
However, I am worried if Joe Biden gets elected, along with very liberal Kamala Harris, that my Second Amendment rights will be curtailed when another liberal justice is named to the Supreme Court. Thus I was going to vote for Trump, figuring he’d get another opportunity to nominate a conservative judge.
However, now with the death of Ginsburg, Trump has the opportunity to name a conservative judge, thus assuring my Second Amendment rights and other rights I hold dear.
If that happens, I’ll feel free to vote for Biden knowing my rights are secure, at least for a few years. If it does not, and no conservative judge is seated, I’ll have to vote for Trump, hoping he’ll be president for another four years, thus able to appoint a conservative judge.
It’s as simple as that.
Ted Storck, Morris, Minn.
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If Republicans reverse their own rule that requires deferring the filling of a Supreme Court vacancy during an election year to the next president, it will be a historic betrayal of their word and an egregious abuse of power. In our current environment of political hostility, escalation and action/reaction, Democrats will be expected to respond strongly out of a sense of fairness. Two responses are plausible: Increase the size of the court or impose term limits for Supreme Court justices.
The Constitution is silent on the size of the Supreme Court. Most people might be surprised to learn that the size of the Supreme Court has already been changed seven times in our history. A bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the president could change it again.
Supreme Court justices receive lifetime appointments. The oldest justice was 90 when he retired from the court. Do we really want individuals in these positions of such extreme power and influence serving for life, to such an extreme age? Consider this: If a law imposed 18-year term limits on the Supreme Court, each presidential term would receive two court picks. No more, no less. In this hyperpartisan era, it may be the most equitable way forward.
Dave Pederson, Minnetrista
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The GOP election-year “rule” is this: You don’t attempt to replace a justice in an election year when you don’t hold both the presidency and the Senate. It would be a waste of time and effort. Fortunately, the Republicans hold both the presidency and the Senate, and this replacement will go forward. And, we have Vice President Mike Pence available to break a tie. It sure is great to have a common-sense president. Remember how former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set this all up? The chickens have come home to roost.
However, don’t be disheartened. We need a conservative Supreme Court in this country and you, and the rest of the country, will be better off because of it.
Tom Shelton, New Brighton
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Trump has pressed Republicans to confirm his choice to replace Ginsburg. Why should an impeached president be allowed to choose the next Supreme Court justice?
Norman Holen, Richfield
My street should be a model for all
The Star Tribune story on Milwaukee Avenue was a fantastic retelling of how the street was restored in the 1970s by a group of tireless activists, to whom I am very grateful (“Living history,” Sept. 19). But what readers might not realize is that the current chapter of this story is every bit as remarkable. After living on Milwaukee Avenue for a decade, I often wonder: Why do we tolerate our cities having so much public land — the streets — effectively cordoned off to people? Here on Milwaukee Avenue, autos have been barred since the late 1970s, when, as the article described, Bob Roscoe and the Seward West Project Area Committee fought to preserve these two blocks. This opened room for trees, grass and a playground, right on the avenue.
Today my son plays on our street without his parents needing to worry about one-ton hunks of metal whizzing by. We have not felt so isolated during the pandemic as we can easily interact with our neighbors in an open, outdoor public space with ample social distance. Milwaukee Avenue is situated in urban Minneapolis, near its core commercial areas, downtown, schools and transit. But when I am out in front of my house on the avenue, talking to my many neighbors who have become close friends, I do not have to raise my voice to be heard over the din of traffic. It is amazing how relationships among people bloom and our well-being can be supported ... when you design a street for people.
Rachel Widome, Minneapolis
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