A recent op-ed in JAMA has an epidemiologist and a lawyer claiming that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has meant the death of science at the Supreme Court. While common in the "Notorious RBG" era(1), especially as epidemiologists have become more like humanities scholars than scientists, it is in defiance of facts.

Ginsburg was a good Justice but she was a good Justice for reasons that would disappoint the authors of the JAMA editorial - she would have sided with the majority against the Biden administration trying to use the CDC to attempt to tell landlords they couldn't do evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ginsburg would have opposed the Biden administration using OSHA to take body autonomy from employees and force vaccines - rather than protect employees from hazards they otherwise would have to risk because companies are supposedly mercenary and evil.(2) The president did not want to give up any Emergency Powers, and she would have opposed that. He does not want COVID-19 to officially end, but has been given a May deadline anyway.

They argue rightly that public trust in science is vital, but then try to insinuate themselves into it. The largest hurdle for evidence-based decision-making is the court system. Health care is far more expensive than it needs to be, except doctors and hospitals have to practice "defensive medicine" to hold off lawyers hoping to sue. Lawyers will bring in epidemiologists to try and claim a weedkiller can cause cancer, and as long as no science is involved they hope they can convince a jury that people are plants.

It's ironic that a lawyer and an epidemiologist, the two groups most responsible for undermining trust in science, are claiming the Supreme Court is the problem - because it did not engage in anti-science policies that would have opened up companies to lawsuits while helping no one.

They say the Clean Power Plan being illegal is risking lives - yet because it is an epidemiologist and a lawyer, no science involved, they don't know that the Clean Power Plan was never enacted because the private sector had met the 2025 emissions standard...by 2017.

Literally every expert knows this. Yet JAMA editors want to believe that a 'conservative' court is undermining science, so they never ask the awkward question that impartial journalists should.


(1) Cultural evangelists and certainly progressive journalists have continued to sell the mythology. Television personality Katie Couric even edited an interview with Ginsburg to remove things the Justice said that Couric did not want viewers to see - to "protect" her, she said.  She “was elderly and probably didn’t understand the question,” according to Couric, all while extolling her decision-making when it came to issues Couric believed in. Because Ginsburg said athletes kneeling for television coverage during the national anthem was  “dumb and disrespectful.” 

How patronizing to not even let Ginsburg speak for herself.

(2)The Biden administration is still pushing vaccines on federal employees in court, despite 98 percent of federal employees being vaccinated.