My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
–Ruth Bader Ginsburg
On September 18, 2020, the US political world was shaken to its foundations by the death of the Notorious R.B.G., Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an associate Justice of the US Supreme Court and liberal icon for almost 30 years. Ginsburg succumbed to complications arising from metastasized pancreatic cancer, after struggling with the disease in one form or another for over 20 years. Ginsburg’s death, coming so close to a US presidential election, completely upends the calculus, energizing both sides, as conservatives scramble to replace her before they may lose control of the White House and Senate, and progressives cry “Foul!” in the face of clear double standards regarding the rules for filling such vacancies.
In 2016, when Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative stalwart, passed away almost nine full months before the election, Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican-dominated Senate, refused to so much as grant a hearing to outgoing President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Now that same man insists that, with barely six weeks to go until the 2020 contest, filling the seat is entirely reasonable.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; the upcoming political fracas is no longer a concern of the dearly departed Ginsburg, and should take a back seat to her obituary.
Born 15 March 1933 (no time available), Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a marked woman celestially from the start—marked for a career in public service and the judiciary, that is. With asteroid Justitia, named for the Roman goddess of justice (and the root of our word) in sextile to the 12 Aquarius Saturn from 8 Sagittarius, and asteroid Themis, named for her Greek counterpart, broadly conjoined it from 22 Aquarius, Ginsburg was drawn to a career (Saturn) in the judiciary, eventually spending the last 27 years of her life with the High Court job title of “Justice.” Asteroid Vesta, symbol of public service, trines Saturn from 4 Gemini and opposes Justitia, propelling Ginsburg into a career (Saturn) of service (Vesta) to the cause of fairness (Justitia) and equality (Aquarius).
Asteroid Ginsburg at 15 Sagittarius conjoins Justitia, at the fulcrum of a T-Square with Jupiter, ruling the judiciary itself. at 17 Pisces, and Venus at 15 Virgo, for the second female (Venus) appointed to the SCOTUS (Jupiter). Venus in this context also brings to mind the adornment (Venus) habitually worn by Justice Ginsburg (Ginsburg), who augmented her black judicial (Jupiter) robes (clothes and costumes are also Venus-ruled) with a lace jabot about her neck.
Asteroid Ruth at 28 Sagittarius is wide of this pattern, but more closely squares the Sun, a common placement for one’s own PNA (Personal-Named Asteroid). Ginsburg’s given first name was Joan, but her mother started using her middle name of Ruth after discovering that several other girls in her daughter’s grade school class were called Joan. Asteroid Joan at 23 Aries conjoins Uranus at 21 Aries, perhaps inspiring the rather quirky (Uranus) reason for the rechristening. But it’s also true that asteroid Joan, while closely semisextile the Sun, doesn’t have the same force of connection as asteroid Ruth’s square, making the latter name a more authentic form of identification.
Ginsburg’s rise to judicial heights was not instantaneous, nor was it unimpeded. The daughter of a Russian emigree, Ginsburg was the first in her family to attend college, graduating from Cornell University and Harvard Law School, where Ginsburg, as only one of nine women in a class of 500, was queried by the Dean, “Why are you at Harvard Law School, taking the place of a man?”
Sexism continued to rear its ugly head when after graduation in 1960, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter specifically rejected Ginsburg for a clerkship due to her gender. This despite the fact that she had tied for first place in her class, and had been given a strong recommendation for the post by her law professor, a future dean of the school.
Unable to practice on the level for which she was qualified, Ginsburg moved into academia, first as a professor at Rutgers Law School, where she was informed she would be paid less than her male colleagues because she had a husband earning a lucrative salary. At the time, Ginsburg was one of only 20 female law professors in the US; in 1972 she accepted a teaching position at Columbia Law School, where she became the first tenured female professor.
Also in 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), beginning her long association with fighting for female equality, and in 1973, she became the Project’s general counsel. The Women’s Rights Project participated in more than 300 gender discrimination cases by 1974, and as its director, she argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court between 1973 and 1976, winning five.
Ginsburg’s reputation as a gritty, tough-as-nails Energizer Bunny of a powerhouse likely stems from the Sun’s trine to a stationary Pluto at 21 Cancer. This provides a strong connection to her personal power, and at station, creates an “immovable force” vibe that allowed Ginsburg to power through the early discrimination she experienced and rise to the heights of her chosen profession. Pluto’s exact square to Uranus at 21 Aries suggests an innate understanding that true power (Pluto) stems from genuine equality (Uranus), which was the basis of her life’s work. The Plutonian connection may also be the source of her primary nickname, the Notorious RBG, which has a “gangsta” connotation that can be correlated to Pluto’s underworld connections. She was sometimes referred to teasingly as Ruth “Badger” Ginsburg, for her tenacity and legal ferocity. Asteroid Badger seems to endorse this nickname, forming a T-Square with Pluto and Uranus from 22 Libra.
In 1954, a few days after her graduation from Cornell, Ginsburg married Martin Ginsburg, later a prominent tax attorney. Asteroid Martina at 29 Capricorn is trine asteroid Hera at 25 Virgo, named for the Greek goddess of marriage and partnership, and in an out-of-Sign square with asteroid Juno at 4 Scorpio, Hera’s Roman counterpart. She had picked the right partner, and they shared 56 years of a union based on mutual respect and appreciation, until his death in 2010.
In 1980 Ginsburg was appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Carter, and upgraded to the Supreme Court in 1993 by Bill Clinton. At her Senate confirmation on 3 August 1993, asteroid Ruth at 3 Cancer conjoined Venus at 1 Cancer, both in an out-of-sign opposition to asteroid Themis at 26 Sagittarius, for the second woman (Ruth/Venus) to be named a Justice (Themis). Themis is stationary, turning direct less than two weeks later, and may have led to Ginsburg’s long, enduring tenure on the court, as the 24th longest-serving Justice in a field of 114 who have held that office.
Transit Themis also conjoins natal Ruth at 28 Sag, while transit Ginsberg at 15 Gemini exactly opposes its natal degree and fills in the missing leg of the natal T-Square of Ginsberg/Justitia, Venus and Jupiter to create a temporary Grand Cross at her confirmation to the SCOTUS. Transit Ruth/Venus also squares transit Jupiter at 10 Libra, ruling the judiciary generally, and the SCOTUS specifically.
Ginsburg’s time on the High Court has been characterized as that of a “rational minimalist”, a jurist who seeks to build cautiously on precedent rather than pushing the Constitution towards her own vision. It wasn’t until after fellow female Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 that Ginsberg, now the sole and eventually senior female Justice, seemed to find her true voice, frequently writing dissents on cases with which she disagreed with the majority. Her focus on gender equality continued, as the author of the court’s opinion in United States v. Virginia (1996), which struck down the Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) male-only admissions policy as violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Ginsburg dissented in the court’s decision on Ledbetter v. Goodyear (2007), a case where plaintiff Lilly Ledbetter filed a lawsuit against her employer claiming pay discrimination based on her gender under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The 5–4 decision interprets the statute of limitations on filing for pay discrimination as starting to run at the time of every pay period, even if a woman did not know she was being paid less than her male colleague until much later.
Ginsburg’s dissent pointed out the absurdity of this position, since women often do not know they are being paid less, and therefore it was unfair to expect them to act at the time of each paycheck. In her dissent Ginsburg exhorted Congress to amend Title VII to undo the court’s flawed (as she saw it) decision with legislation, and following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, making it easier for employees to win pay discrimination claims, was enacted into law. Ginsburg has been credited with helping to inspire that legislation.
Ginsburg was a consistent supporter of reproductive rights, though she opined that the original Roe v Wade decision may have wrongly led to the termination of a growing movement to liberalize existing abortion legislation which in time could have created a broader consensus for legalizing the procedure nationally.
At her death on 18 September 2020, asteroid Ruth conjoined asteroid Washingtonia at 2 and 1 Virgo, at the Apex of a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjuncts to asteroids Requiem at 28 Pisces (named for the funeral mass for the dead) and Rip at 5 Aquarius (which functions as a death indicator as the acronym “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription). It would seem that her death, however inconvenient for the rest of us, was perfectly timed for her own saga. Requiem is also exactly squared natal Ruth at 28 Sagittarius, and is retrograding for a second conjunction with the natal Sun at 24 Pisces. Requiem first conjoined her Sun in June, as the prognosis for her pancreatic cancer deteriorated.
Transit Ginsburg at 12 Cancer squares transit asteroid Nemesis at 15 Libra, a symbol of downfall or ruin, and opposes transit Jupiter at 17 Capricorn, once again tying in the theme of the SCOTUS. Jupiter is also at station, having turned direct just five days previously, marking a literal “turning point” for the court, with the loss of its current second longest-serving member. Transit Justitia at 11 Leo conjoins natal Nemesis at 13 Leo, itself conjoined exactly by transit Venus, while transit Themis at 18 Scorpio is in square, a powerful conglomeration of both “Justice” asteroids with a gender marker and a symbol of destruction. Justitia is also exactly conjunct the Sun of her SCOTUS confirmation, while transit Mars, in retrograde, is exactly conjoined that chart’s Justitia at 27 Aries.
The transit Sun at 26 Virgo was exactly conjoined by transit asteroid Lachesis, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life, indicating a day dominated by news of a death, and these form a T-Square with the natal Sun/Ruth square, making the aspect personal top her. Sun/Lachesis is also exactly semisquare Justitia, further refining whose death is indicated.
Transit asteroid Anubis at 14 Gemini, named for the ancient Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, exactly opposes transit asteroid America, representing the nation’s loss and mourning. This polarity overlays the natal T-Square of Ginsburg/Justitia, Venus and Jupiter, also activating natal Anubis at 15 Virgo and natal Rip at 16 Sagittarius as well as the placement of asteroid Ginsburg for her SCOTUS confirmation. Transit Themis is closing in on natal Lachesis at 24 Scorpio, while transit Rip has just crossed over natal asteroid Osiris at 2 Aquarius, named for the Egyptian god of the dead. Transit Osiris at 2 Capricorn forms a Grand Trine with transit Ruth a 2 Virgo and transit Uranus at 10 Taurus, for Ginsburg’s (Ruth) unexpected and sudden (Uranus) death (Osiris) and the resulting shock waves (Uranus again). Although Ginsburg’s diagnosis was indeed dire, there was no suggestion prior that her death was imminent.
Significantly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel appears in the thick of this chart, with asteroid Mitchella at 1 Virgo conjoined Washingtonia/Ruth, and asteroid McConnell at 14 Scorpio conjoined Themis. Less than an hour after her death he had announced that her seat would be filled, in direct contravention of his 2016 stance.
How will the Notorious RBG’s death play out in the wider context of the SCOTUS and the upcoming election? That remains to be seen, but Ginsburg’s PNAs make a strong connection to the Election Day chart, with Ginsburg at 22 Cancer exactly opposed Pluto with Jupiter and Saturn, and squared Mercury (energizing (Pluto) and increasing (Jupiter) the conservative (Saturn) vote (Mercury)?), while Ruth at 18 Virgo is exactly sextile asteroid Whitehouse with Swindle at 18 Scorpio, and exactly opposed Neptune at 18 Pisces (underscoring fraud (Swindle) and deception (Neptune) in attaining the Oval Office (Whitehouse)?).
We’ll just have to wait and see…
[Author’s Note: Donald Trump has already announced he will be choosing a woman to replace Ginsburg, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a far-right jurist with virulent anti-abortion views, very popular with the Fundamentalist Christian bloc that has been edging away from Trump of late. When Trump moved to replace Antonin Scalia in 2017, I expected Barrett would be at the top of his list, due to her phenomenal natal potential for rising to the SCOTUS, and her connections to Trump.
Born 28 January 1972, Barrett sports a conjunction of Jupiter at 28 Sagittarius with asteroids Amy and Troemper at 3 and 8 Capricorn, establishing a close relationship between herself, the President, and her career in the federal judiciary. As well, the Sun at 7 Aquarius conjoins Themis at 10, and asteroid Justitia at 20 Aquarius conjoins Barrett at 24, providing two very personal links to the job title of “Justice”.
The current Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter grouping clusters about her natal Mercury at 24 Capricorn, potentially putting her in the news, and Mars’ recent station conjoined her natal asteroid Whitehouse at 27 Aries, prompting action from that quarter.]