The recent death of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg has given new occasion for liberal and conservative opinions to collide.
Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and advocated for gender equality and women’s rights for most of her career, including before serving on the highest court. In serving a total of 40 years in the law profession, with 27 as associate justice, she was known for her firm liberal opinions that frequently won debates at the Supreme Court.
Her colleagues paid moving tributes to her memory, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. who wrote, “Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Some of the issues Ginsburg advocated for are ones that all women benefit from, like the 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act that allowed women to apply for credit cards and mortgages without a male co-signer. Unfortunately, Ginsburg is also celebrated as a champion for many issues that are in strong discord with the Bible. Among other mainstream issues, Ginsburg was a strong advocate for abortion, which she viewed as an essential element of women’s rights.
In a 2009 New York Times interview, she said, “. . . the government has no business making that choice for a woman.” In her rulings and debates, she did not consider unborn babies as separate souls with individual rights. Her vow to defend the Constitution warped under the pressure of mainstream political idealogy.
As one might expect, she was no supporter of President Trump’s administration and its more socially conservative lean; days before her recent death she told her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” NPR reported. Many of her supporters share her disapproval: when Trump came to pay his respects by her coffin, the crowd booed and chanted, “Vote him out.”
Despite Ginsburg’s “most fervent wish,” Trump did indeed nominate a successor: Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. The New York Times announced the nomination by saying, “Conservatives and anti-abortion activists praised the news, while some on the left condemned it.”
We know the judicial decisions of those who preside on the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, have a profound impact on stability of the country as a whole. Justice and accountability preventing a people from descending into lawlessness is demonstrated throughout history, including the nation of Israel.
The divinely appointed Old Testament judge Deborah had a remarkable impact on the nation of Israel, leading them as both prophetess and warrior. Judges 4:5 says the Hebrews came to her for judgment, and with good reason. Every opinion she gave was governed by the Lord’s leading, and every following success redirected to God’s glory. After a victorious battle, she sang in Judges 5 with Barak, her battle companion, “Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.”
Solomon warns in Proverbs that although people’s decisions are right their own eyes, God knows what is truly in their hearts. Deborah’s example of God-directed leadership contrasts sharply with Ginsburg’s self-made interpretation of right and wrong. If our country is to remain one nation under God, we must appoint to our justice system those who, as Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 3:9, request “an understanding heart to judge [God’s] people, that [they] may discern between good and bad.”