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The iconic US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87. Ginsburg had been fighting her fifth cancer diagnosis when she died at her home from complications related to the illness. Ginsburg was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and successfully beat her first four cancer diagnoses’. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the most well known Supreme Court Justice in the US. As a justice, she was known for her fiery dissents and deep knowledge of the law. Before her time as a justice, she was one of the foremost legal activists in the world. She was at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights in the US.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was well known for her legal battles for women’s rights and equality. Instead of trying to gain equal rights for women all at once, she strategically fought individual laws that discriminated against women. This created precedents that would make further change easier. Ginsburg would also represent men who had been discriminated against because of the law. By doing this, she could show that gender discrimination was not only something that women suffered from. One of the most pivotal cases where she represented a man who was discriminated against was featured in a movie about her life called “On the Basis of Sex”.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has caused chaos in US politics. Supreme Court Justices in the US are chosen by the president of the time and they are appointed for life. This means that unless they choose to retire or are impeached, they are able to continue in the role until their death. Only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached, Samuel Chase in 1804. In the last 45 years, only three Supreme Court Justices have died while still in office. Most justices choose to retire when a president who holds similar views to themselves is in office. As such, the Supreme Court is split between justices whose political views are to the left (Democrat) and justices whose political views are to the right (Republican).

It is widely believed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was waiting for the next President of the US, after Donald Trump, to retire. She did not want to retire under Trump because his political views are almost the complete opposite of her own. In her final days, she even had her granddaughter take an official statement from her on what she would like to happen after her death. She said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” The US Presidential election is on November 3rd 2020; there are arguments over whether the Republicans should replace Ginsburg before the election. She gave that statement to make her position on the matter clear.

The argument over whether or not Trump should be able to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election comes from Republicans themselves. In 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 9 months before the Presidential election. President Obama nominated a replacement for him on the Supreme Court but Republicans did not allow the nomination to go through because they controlled the US Senate. The US Senate must vote on a Supreme Court nomination to confirm it. Republicans argued that a President shouldn’t be able to replace a Supreme Court justice in an election year, not something that had been argued before. Now, Republicans are attempting to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg just over one month before the election. Democrats are calling on Republicans to respect what they said when Obama was President, but so far they have not.

The replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is particularly important as a conservative justice replacing her would make the court heavily conservative. People are worried that if this happens, then abortion could be made illegal again, affordable healthcare could be taken away from people and equal rights for different groups of people could be abolished. The current fight for the Supreme Court is a fight for the future of America.

Difficult words

Dissent (n/v): Expressing opinions different from others.

Foremost (adj): Being in a prominent rank or position.

Strategically (adv): Doing something with planned actions.

Precedent (n): An earlier event or action that is used as an example for the future.

Pivotal (adj): Of crucial importance in the development or success of something.

Appoint (v): To assign a job or role to someone.

Impeach (v): To charge someone with misconduct.

Fervent (adj): Passionate intensity.

Abolish (v): Completely put an end to something.

Activities

For listening practice, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

1. DissentA. Used as an example.
2. ForemostB. Give role.
3. StrategicallyC. Intensely
4. PrecedentD. Prominent position.
5. PivotalE. Get rid of.
6. AppointF. Having a plan.
7. ImpeachG. Different opinion.
8. FerventH. Charge
9. AbolishI. Important

True or False?

1. Ruth Bader Ginsberg was over 90 years old when she died. T / F

2. Ginsberg had been dealing with cancer for more than 20 years. T / F

3. Ginsberg was a strong activist for women’s rights. T / F

4.  She fought individual laws which discriminated against women. T / F

5. A film about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life will release in 2021. T / F

6. Ginsberg’s Supreme Court position will definitely be filled after the 2020 US presidential election. T / F

7. Supreme Court Justices may stay in the position for up to a decade. T / F

8.  Only one justice has ever been impeached. T / F

9.  Ginsberg did not want to retire under Trump’s presidency. T / F

10. Republicans allowed President Obama to choose a Supreme Court Justice in 2016. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. had / fighting / diagnosis / cancer / Ginsburg / her / been / fifth

2. in / 1999 / cancer / was / first / Ginsburg / diagnosed / with

3. US / Ginsburg’s / has / politics / caused / in / chaos / death

4. impeached / Only / ever / one / has / Supreme Court Justice / been

5. a / him / President / nominated / Obama / for / replacement

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio: 

SufferedIllegalStatement
SplitPoliticalChaos
NominationDiagnosisActivists

The iconic US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87. Ginsburg had been fighting her fifth cancer (1)____________ when she died at her home from complications related to the illness. Ginsburg was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and successfully beat her first four cancer diagnoses’. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the most well known Supreme Court Justice in the US. As a justice, she was known for her fiery dissents and deep knowledge of the law. Before her time as a justice, she was one of the foremost legal (2)_____________ in the world. She was at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights in the US.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was well known for her legal battles for women’s rights and equality. Instead of trying to gain equal rights for women all at once, she strategically fought individual laws that discriminated against women. This created precedents that would make further change easier. Ginsburg would also represent men who had been discriminated against because of the law. By doing this, she could show that gender discrimination was not only something that women (3)____________ from. One of the most pivotal cases where she represented a man who was discriminated against was featured in a movie about her life called “On the Basis of Sex”.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has caused (4)__________ in US politics. Supreme Court Justices in the US are chosen by the president of the time and they are appointed for life. This means that unless they choose to retire or are impeached, they are able to continue in the role until their death. Only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached, Samuel Chase in 1804. In the last 45 years, only three Supreme Court Justices have died while still in office. Most justices choose to retire when a president who holds similar views to themselves is in office. As such, the Supreme Court is (5)_______ between justices whose political views are to the left (Democrat) and justices whose political views are to the right (Republican).

It is widely believed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was waiting for the next President of the US, after Donald Trump, to retire. She did not want to retire under Trump because his (6)____________ views are almost the complete opposite of her own. In her final days, she even had her granddaughter take an official statement from her on what she would like to happen after her death. She said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” The US Presidential election is on November 3rd 2020; there are arguments over whether the Republicans should replace Ginsburg before the election. She gave that (7)______________ to make her position on the matter clear.

The argument over whether or not Trump should be able to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election comes from Republicans themselves. In 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 9 months before the Presidential election. President Obama nominated a replacement for him on the Supreme Court but Republicans did not allow the nomination to go through because they controlled the US Senate. The US Senate must vote on a Supreme Court (8)______________ to confirm it. Republicans argued that a President shouldn’t be able to replace a Supreme Court justice in an election year, not something that had been argued before. Now, Republicans are attempting to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg just over one month before the election. Democrats are calling on Republicans to respect what they said when Obama was President, but so far they have not.

The replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is particularly important as a conservative justice replacing her would make the court heavily conservative. People are worried that if this happens, then abortion could be made (9)__________ again, affordable healthcare could be taken away from people and equal rights for different groups of people could be abolished. The current fight for the Supreme Court is a fight for the future of America.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Did you know of Ruth Bader Ginsberg before reading this story?
5. Does your country have a Supreme Court?
6. If you country has a Supreme Court, how important is it?
7. Do you think it’s right for Republicans to replace Ginsburg after saying Obama shouldn’t replace Scalia?
8. How important is it to not be hypocritical in politics?
9. Are politicians held to a high standard in your country?
10. Is Obama or Trump more popular in your country?
11. How advanced are women’s rights in your country?
12. Are equal rights for all people strong in your country?
13. Who do you think will win the US election?
14. Do you know any famous activists from your country?
15. What is the most important issue that activists in your country are fighting?
16. Have any major historical figures from your country died in recent years?
17. How strong is the justice system in your country?
18. How much do people care about politics in your country?
19. Do you know how common voting is in your country?
20. Do you vote in every election?