September 18, 2020
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead at 87
(CNN) - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. She was 87.
Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and in recent years served as the most senior member of the court's liberal wing, consistently delivering progressive votes on the most divisive social issues of the day, including abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care and affirmative action.
Her death -- less than seven weeks before Election Day -- opens up a political fight over the future of the court. Addressing the liberal justice's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday evening, "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."
But Ginsburg told her granddaughter she wanted her replacement to be appointed by the next president, NPR reported. "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," she dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera days before her death.
"She led an amazing life. What else can you say?" President Donald Trump said Friday evening upon hearing about her death. "She was an amazing woman whether you agree or not she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life."
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden praised Ginsburg as a "giant in the legal profession" and a "beloved figure," saying in brief on-camera remarks Friday evening that people "should focus on the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy."
"But there is no doubt, let me be clear that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," he added, saying that was the position of Republicans who refused to vote on then-President Barack Obama's nominee in 2016.
Obama, in a statement mourning Ginsburg, also called for Senate Republicans to uphold the standard they set in 2016 when they blocked his nominee.
"Over a long career on both sides of the bench -- as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist -- Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn't about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn't only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It's about who we are -- and who we can be," Obama said in a statement.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020. On the Jewish calendar, that day was Elul 29 - the last day of their civic year. On their religious calender, Elul 29 has many names: it is a day of Judgement, nullification, and also a day of repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
I find this connection to be of the utmost biblical irony that she should pass away on this exact day, considering that she spent her whole career as a Supreme Court Judge with very worldly beliefs to put it mildly. To put it plainly, she upheld and championed things that we know are extremely sinful, things that are against Heavenly Father's commandments (which are world-wide commandments, not just members of the Church.) *Please note that this is not to say that she was necessarily a horrible person, never did anything good, or that she is beyond God's love or forgiveness.* She is in His judgement now.
Here is more fascinating information on Elul 29 and its symbolism:
"Several customs during the month of Elul are designed to remind us of the liturgical season and help us prepare ourselves and our souls for the upcoming High Holidays.
1. Blowing the shofar
Traditionally, the shofar is blown each morning (except on Shabbat) from the first day of Elul until the day before Rosh HaShanah. Its sound is intended to awaken the soul and kick start the spiritual accounting that happens throughout the month. In some congregations the shofar is sounded at the opening of each Kabbalat Shabbat service during Elul.
2. Saying special prayers
Selichot (special penitential prayers) are recited during the month of Elul. A special Selichot service is conducted late in the evening – often by candlelight – on the Saturday night a week before Rosh HaShanah.
3. Visiting loved ones' graves
Elul is also a time of year during which Jews traditionally visit the graves of loved ones. This custom not only reminds us of the individuals on whose shoulders we now stand and helps us honor their memories, but also prompts us to think about our own lives and the legacies we will leave to others – kind words spoken, comfort offered, love given and received – which take on added meaning as we enter the High Holiday season. Rabbi Daniel B. Syme explains more about this custom.