The GOP Is Selling "Notorious ACB" Shirts. Ginsburg's Nickname Was Inspired By Dissent.

Many Americans are angered by the GOP trying to push through a new justice less than 2 months before the election is over. The new, gimmicky T-shirts haven’t allayed any contempt.

Sen. Marcio Rubio (R-FL)'s campaign announced that it was selling "Notorious ACB" T-shirts. |
Sen. Marcio Rubio (R-FL)'s campaign announced that it was selling "Notorious ACB" T-shirts. |

Republicans are selling a T-shirt emblazoned with the face of Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett and a nickname familiarly bestowed upon the legendary justice Trump wants her to replace: “Notorious ACB.” On some shirts, the federal appellate judge is wearing a crown in the style of The Notorious B.I.G., except hers is adorned with crosses — a nod to her Catholicism. 

Barrett’s nomination was announced Saturday by President Trump, a day after the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee posted about the shirts Saturday, prompting criticism from progressives who view the consumer good as a deliberate diminishing of Ginsburg’s legacy — as the Senate majority remains determined to defy the legendary justice’s dying wish that her replacement be installed by the next president. 

For the record: RBG’s moniker has a very specific inspiration — a New York University law student popularized the nickname on a blog, after the late justice’s fiery dissent in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder case. (That student, Shana Knizhnik, went on to co-write the book “Notorious RBG:The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” with journalist Irin Carmon.) Ginsburg sided with the Court’s minority, arguing that the 5-4 ruling would nullify a key provision in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that protected Black voters.

“One of the points that I made in my dissent was what member of our Congress is going to stand up and say, ‘My state, my city, or my county is still keeping African Americans from voting, so please keep us under the gun of the pre-clearance system?’ That just wasn’t going to happen,” Ginsburg said during an event this February hosted by Georgetown University of Law and The American Bar Association.

As many Americans have been angered by the GOP pushing through a new justice less than 2 months before the election is over — after stonewalling former President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland from March 2016 through the end of his second term — the gimmicky T-shirts haven’t allayed any of that contempt.

Some have observed that equating the two judges on the basis of their shared gender is wholly misguided — given Barrett’s views on issues including health care, abortion, and discrimination directly conflict with those of Ginsburg.
Moreover, if confirmed, Barrett would tip the court’s conservative majority to 6-3, cementing long-lasting influence on society and law in the United States for decades.

“Pop a crown on the head of Amy Coney Barrett and watch the Notorious RBG vanish as they attempt to claim that something that was earned is just another thing that can be stolen,” wrote Dahlia Lithwick at Slate. “It sounds like subordination, and diminution, which are the things men do to erase women; the things Justice Ginsburg devoted her life to battling.”