It’s 2075, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for the tenth time that week and probably thousandth time that year, raised her head up to the heavens (or, as close to it as her withering, cursed body would allow these days) and cried out — fine, croaked out — “why am I so alooooooonnnnne? Why must justice require all these empty chairrrrrrsssssss?”
Her pain began about sixty years back, when a wad of anthropomorphic pond scum some New Jersey hospital had affectionately dubbed “Antonin Scalia” oozed back into the swamp from whence he came. Scalia was a fellow Supreme Court Justice, and his death meant that he needed to be replaced. Preferably with somebody human this time, because the Court does govern humans. Putting a robe on pond scum helped but one fringe group: pond scum fetishists. Everyone else would’ve done way better with a human, one with decency and heart and vital organs, deciding the laws of the United States instead.
This … never happened. The Republican side of Congress — the body that decides whether or not to let a Supreme Court nominee take the job — decided all by its big boy self that it would not confirm anybody nominated by then-President Obama, who had committed the dual sin of being a Democrat and looking like somebody the Republicans’ grandpappies had whipped for not picking cotton fast enough. Their excuse was that a lame-duck President doesn’t have the power to nominate anyone, as that job should only be filled by Presidents who can get elected again. Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts, both nominated by lame-duck president George W. Bush, magically had no opinion on the matter.
But hey, Ginsburg thought, soon they’ll elect a new President, and that one can get to nominating, right? Not so — once John McCain threatened to block anybody nominated by Hillary Clinton should she win the election, because she had committed the dual sin of being a Democrat and looking like somebody the Republicans’ grandpappies, pappies, selves, and sons had beaten for not cooking stew fast enough, it was all over. There would be no ninth Justice anytime soon which, on the bright side, at least meant no new pond scum.
It was around this time that Ginsburg realized there may be no new Justices, ever, at the rate the clowns in Congress were going. So she did what any responsible person might: she appealed to the Dark Gods — you know the ones, they’re why you passed AP Chemistry despite blowing up your lab ten times a week — to ensure there would always be at least one Justice forever and ever, no matter how much she may, decades or even centuries later, want to die.
The Notorious One’s Dark Covenant came at just the right time, as the embargo on fresh meat to fill the black robes kept going, and going, and going, like an Energizer Bunny powered by partisan squabbling. Once the Republicans finally got their heads out their asses and found themselves an electable candidate, one whose racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and poorophobia slid down the public’s throats better because the candidate was nice about it, the Democrats turned right around and said, “Hey! Remember that whole Justice thing? Well, we’re doing that too! Good luck making us confirm anybody you like! Neener neener weiner!” So President after President, term after term, failed to yield a new Justice.
By then, the court was down to six, with Clarence Thomas joining Scalia in whatever after-realm pond scum spirits spend eternity at, and Anthony Kennedy officially announcing his retirement with, “fuck it. You know what? Just, fuck it. America, you’re on your own. Fuck it. It must be fucked. It IS fucked. Fuck.”
He later claimed he was taken out of context.
The Court hadn’t had six members since 1789, but George Washington wasn’t walking through that door. No one was — Democratic replaced Republican, vice-versa and versa-vice, with not a single one successfully getting anybody approved to the Supreme Court. Every time they tried, the other side would whine and complain and protest and filibuster and hold their breath until they turned blue. Doing the latter cost Mitch McConnell his life, not that that changed anything. His toxicity had spread to everyone around him, regardless of whether they looked just like an inbred turtle or not.
Still, Ginsburg remained confident, as no matter how long the back-and-forth actually lasted, there would always be at least one justice. While she did regret forgetting to ask the Dark Gods not to age during her immortal Earthly run, her withered skin and increasingly frail, powdery bones were but a minor inconvenience. Besides, the country was too busy complaining about that thing that asshole did on Big Brother 218 to notice their senior Justice looked worse than the death she would never experience.
By 2043, with a mere three Justices remaining, a movement began to finally let the public vote for Supreme Court Justices, who would then be confirmed by nobody. This was immediately laughed out of Congress, with the general consensus being, “don’t those crazy kids already vote for enough stuff? How much more do they want? So, the current system remained, albeit in name only.
Finally, Elena Kagan ate it in 2055, with her last ruling going nowhere. Since there was no third Justice to break her and Ginsburg’s 1-1 tie, their ruling on what should happen to the very concept of justice once they go went nowhere. Ginsburg too, went nowhere. She was now the only Justice remaining, a 122-year-old withered ghoul who could barely read the legal documents presented to her, nor could she hear what either sides’ attorneys were yammering about. She would make her rulings, mostly arbitrary as her mind no longer understood anything going on around her, write both majority and dissenting arguments in a strange tongue inscrutable to both expert linguists and the crazed, breathing corpse who typed them, and then beg both sides to stay for tea. Few did.
That’s a lie. None did.
And so Ginsburg remains, cursing the curse that she clearly didn’t think through, growing lonelier and more decrepit by the day, refusing to retire due to her sense of justice being the only part of her mind she hasn’t lost. Next week, she will attempt to “nominate” eight giant stuffed animals to serve as her Associates, and she has promised the public they will be a mixture of liberal teddies and conservative doggies. Or, she would have promised the public this, if she had told the public. Instead, she told a wall that she thought was a camera. Then she got mad when she thought her cameraman forgot to turn the camera on.
At this point, her only hope is for the public to come together and vote one party into every office. All Democrats or all Republicans — at 142, Ruth gives no fucks. Let one party rule them all until they fuck up the country, render checks and balances all but useless, and lose big the following midterm, just like every time one party rules everything. Shit, at least that way she would finally get some friends.
What’s more, she would get a replacement — she would no longer have to be number 1, 2, 9, or anything. She would be free to wander the globe, in search of the Dark Gods who did this to her. And when she finds them — revenge. Revenge for making her body decay worse than if she had actually decayed. Revenge for letting her mind die without her actually dying. And most importantly, revenge for not cursing the other Justices to live forever too, because they had to know this is what the country would come to. They’re gods. They know these things.
So if it’s the year 2100, and your grandchildren are walking down a lonely road one night, and they see a hunched-over, babbling, delirious woman with crumbling skin and hair thinner than a pro-Trump argument, and she’s screaming to the sky for the demons to face her, see what they’ve done, and undo it before she unleashes a plague of evil o’er their land, you’ll know that the Supreme Court, at long last, is back to the way it ought to be.
Until someone else dies and the squabbling begins anew. And when that happens, don’t count on RBG to bail the country out again. She’s busy.