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Republicans condemned for promoting ‘Notorious ACB’ shirts days after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death

September 27, 2020
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Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nomination for the Supreme Court on Saturday. (Getty Images)
Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nomination for the Supreme Court on Saturday. (Getty Images)

A Republican fundraising group has stirred controversy after copying a nickname affectionately given to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and using it on a t-shirt design to support President Donald Trump’s nomination for the nation’s highest court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

WinRed, a grassroots fundraising group committed to electing Republicans, encouraged donors to show their support for the president’s nominee by purchasing the t-shirt, which featured an image of Judge Barrett and a crown on top of her head.

The shirt reads: “Notorious A.C.B.”

The new nickname for Mr Trump’s nominee was immediately seen as a take on the moniker “The Notorious R.B.G.,” which was reportedly given to Justice Ginsburg by a law student.

The late justice embraced the nickname — a reference to the legendary rapper Christopher Wallace, who went by the stage name The Notorious B.I.G. — throughout her career.

GOP-led campaign committees like the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) promoted the t-shirt across social media, prompting immediate backlash from supporters of the late justice as well as lawmakers on Capitol Hill alike.

The shirt was also promoted by an official Twitter account for the re-election campaign of Republican Senator Marco Rubio. The account wrote on Saturday along with an image of the shirt: “In support of Amy Coney Barrett, we have made a shirt that you can purchase! The shirts are LIMITED, so get yours while you still can!”

Senator Chris Murphy released statement saying the point of the shirt was “just to be awful” and “to stick a finger in the eye of Ginsburg’s grieving family and anyone mourning her loss.”

He added: “It’s a reminder to do something — anything — tomorrow that will make sure the people who did this aren’t in charge come January.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom simply wrote in a tweet: “This makes me sick to my stomach.”

Meanwhile, CJ Wallace, son of the New York City rapper, told the Today Show his father likely would have enjoyed sharing the moniker with Justice Ginsburg, who was appointed to the Supreme Court just four years before his father was killed in a 1997 drive-by shooting.

“Brooklyn, New York, represents no fear, confidence, and speaking your truth, and my dad and Justice Ginsburg lived those words,” he said. “I think he would be honored to share the ‘Notorious’ title with her, and it’s up to us to honor their legacies by continuing to fight for equality and justice for all by voting and getting into good trouble.” 

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