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September 25, 2020

News Roundup: The nation remembers Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Have students record what they found most significant in the summaries and ask them what they’d like to learn more about. To read the transcript of the video above, click here.

If you have time, PBS NewsHour has aired an hour-long retrospective of Ginsburg’s life and legacy that is available here.

Summary of the top news: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who long argued for civil rights including women’s rights, and who became the court’s second female justice, died at the age of 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Republicans including President Donald Trump and Republican senators have vowed to fill Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court as quickly as possible. Democratic politicians have argued this is a hypocritical position for many Republicans, who refused to fill an open seat in the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Also in the news:

  • The attorney general of Kentucky announced charges against one officer involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was a Louisville woman who was killed by police during a botched raid on her home. The charges were related to shots fired by one officer into a neighboring apartment, not for the killing of Taylor. Taylor’s death had pushed activists to call for police reforms and greater accountability, and Taylor’s family, as well as many protesters and other observers, were frustrated by the leniency of the charges.
  • President Trump continued to call into question the legitimacy of the coming presidential election, attacking state mail-in voting rules and claiming that the election would be “rigged.” FBI Director Christopher Wray has testified that there is no evidence of national voting or election fraud schemes.
  • The United States crossed a grim milestone with now over 200,000 official deaths due to COVID-19.

Warm up questions: 

  1. Who was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
  2. What is the reason for political conflict around filling her seat on the Supreme Court?
  3. Where and when is the political battle happening over the Supreme Court seat?
  4. Why are Democratic politicians arguing that filling the seat now is unfair?
  5. How might Ginsburg’s death affect the 2020 presidential election?

Focus questions:

  1. Do you think the Supreme Court seat left open by Ginsburg’s death should be filled before the presidential election? Why or why not?
  2. As both presidential candidates prepare for the first debate next week, what item in the news do you think is most important for them to address, and why?

Media literacy: What news do you think was most important from this summary? What important news are you aware of that was left out?

Dig Deeper: Have students watch this video from Student Reporting Labs that features high school students reacting to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ask your students: What public figure is an inspiration to you?

NewsHour EXTRA has teamed up with Pear Deck to create weekly lesson plans that inform and engage students on topics of the day. You can access a version of this lesson and others through Pear Deck here.

After RBG’s death, this poet urges us to follow in her steps

‘Rest in Power’: America mourns Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

‘She would want us all to fight’: Leaders pay tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Can Trump replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court before the election?

The Supreme Court: Balancing the Branches 


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