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

Tributes poured in Friday night in honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at the age of 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. The second woman to be named to the highest court and a champion of gender equality was remembered by colleagues, the nation’s top leaders and former presidents.

“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

— Chief Justice John G. Roberts

“Today, our Nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served more than 27 years as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States—notably just the second woman to be appointed to the Court. She was a loving wife to her late husband, Martin, and a dedicated mother to her two children.

Renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view. Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds.

A fighter to the end, Justice Ginsburg battled cancer, and other very long odds, throughout her remarkable life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ginsburg family and their loved ones during this difficult time. May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world.”

— President Donald Trump

“Tonight our nation mourns an American hero, a giant of legal doctrine, and a relentless voice in the pursuit of that highest American ideal: Equal Justice Under Law.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us. She fought for all of us. As a young attorney, she persisted through every challenge that an unequal system placed in her way to change the laws of our land and lead the legal charge to advance equal rights for women. It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court. In the decades since, she was consistently and reliably the voice that pierced to the heart of every issue, protected the constitutional rights of every American, and never failed in the fierce and unflinching defense of liberty and freedom. Her opinions, and her dissents, will continue to shape the basis of our law for future generations. May her memory be a blessing to all people who cherish our Constitution and its promise.

Tonight, and in the coming days, we should be focused on the loss of Justice Ginsburg and her enduring legacy. But just so there is no doubt, let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg. This was the position that the Republican Senate took in 2016, when there were nearly nine months before the election. That is the position the United States Senate must take now, when the election is less than two months away. We are talking about the Constitution and the Supreme Court. That institution should not be subject to politics.”

— Former Vice President Joe Biden

“Today, America mourns the passing of a true public servant, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg led an inspiring life, and her storied career paved the way for women in the law. As an advocate and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, she was a champion for the women whose tireless determination reshaped our national life. A fierce defender of her judicial philosophy, Justice Gisburg will always be remembered as a jurist who respected and commanded the respect of all her colleagues. Karen and I offer our prayers and condolences to the family, friends, and many admirers of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

— Vice President Mike Pence

“Tonight we mourn, we honor, and we pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family. Tomrrow we fight for her legacy.

For all who believe in the powerof the law as a force for change, Justice Ginsburg was and will always be a titan.She was a relentless defender of justice inour country and a legal mind for the ages. She also remained, throughout her life, a proud daughter of Brooklyn, with immigrant roots and a fire lit from an early age as a champion for progress and equality.

Justice Ginsburg was known to pose the question, “What is the difference between a bookkeeper in the Garment District and a Supreme Court justice?” Her answer: “One generation.” She never forgot where she came from, or those who sacrificed to help her grow into the historic icon we all came to revere.

Even as we focus on the life that she led and process tonight’s grief, her legacy and the future of the court to which she dedicated so much can’t disappear from our effort to honor her. In some of her final moments with her family, she shared her fervent wish to “not be replaced until a new President is installed. We will honor that wish.

Justice Ginsburg used every ounce of life she was bestowed to urge our nation down a path toward equal justice. Doug and I send our heartfelt prayers to Jane and James, and the entire Ginsburg family, particularly on this holy day of Rosh Hashanah. According to Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah we begin a period of reflection. Tonight, we reflect on the legacy of Justice Ginsburg and we honor her belief in creating a fair and just world by recommitting to fight for that justice.”

— Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

“The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is devastating. Justice Ginsburg embodied justice, brilliance and goodness, and her passing is an incalculable loss for our democracy and for all who sacrifice and strive to build a better future for our children.

Every family in America benefited from her brilliant legacy and courage. Over the course of her quarter century as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became an icon, inspiring people around the world with her tenacity, towering intellect and devotion to the American promise of equality and opportunity for all. Her tireless advocacy in the fight for gender equality, whether working at the ACLU, arguing cases before the Supreme Court or authoring thoughtful and historic opinions and dissents as an Associate Justice, leaves an enduring legacy of progress for all women. Her opinions have unequivocally cemented the precedent that all men and women are created equal.

We must honor Justice Ginsburg’s trailblazing career and safeguard her powerful legacy by ensuring that the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court upholds her commitment to equality, opportunity and justice for all. May it be a source of comfort to her children, Jane and James, her grandchildren Paul, Clara, Miranda and Abigail, and loved ones that so many people around the world mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

“Tonight, we mourn the passing of a giant in American history, a champion for justice, a trailblazer for women.

She would want us all to fight as hard as we can to preserve her legacy.”

— Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

“Sixty years ago, Ruth Bader Ginsburg applied to be a Supreme Court clerk. She’d studied at two of our finest law schools and had ringing recommendations. But because she was a woman, she was rejected. Ten years later, she sent her first brief to the Supreme Court — which led it to strike down a state law based on gender discrimination for the first time. And then, for nearly three decades, as the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed that equal justice under law only had meaning if it applied to every single American.
Over a long career on both sides of the bench — as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist — Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It’s about who we are — and who we can be.

Justice Ginsburg inspired the generations who followed her, from the tiniest trick-or-treaters to law students burning the midnight oil to the most powerful leaders in the land. Michelle and I admired her greatly, we’re profoundly thankful for the legacy she left this country, and we offer our gratitude and our condolences to her children and grandchildren tonight.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored.

Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in.

A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment. The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle. As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard. The questions before the Court now and in the coming years — with decisions that will determine whether or not our economy is fair, our society is just, women are treated equally, our planet survives, and our democracy endures — are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process.”

— Former President Barack Obama

“Laura and I join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls. Justice Ginsburg loved our country and the law. Laura and I are fortunate to have known this smart and humorous trailblazer, and we send our condolences to the Ginsburg family.”

— Former President George W. Bush

“Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality, she has been a beacon of justice during her long and remarkable career. I was proud to have appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980. We join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a truly great woman. We will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

— Former President Jimmy Carter

“We have lost one of the most extraordinary Justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and landmark opinions moved us closer to a more perfect union. And her powerful dissents reminded us that we walk away from our Constitution’s promise at our peril.”

— Former President Bill Clinton

“Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG.”

— Hillary Clinton

“The world has lost a pioneer in the fight for gender equality in Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her brilliant legal mind underpinned her resolute and tireless commitment to equal justice for all Americans under the law. Thank you, RBG, for helping to build a more just & democratic America.”

— Former Vice President Al Gore

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer for women’s rights, a fierce champion for equality, and an extremely accomplished American who broke countless barriers in the field of law. Throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg surmounted discrimination and sexism through her brilliance, tenacity, and wit, becoming one of the most prominent legal luminaries of our time.

I had the great honor of getting to know Justice Ginsburg personally when the women Senators twice had dinner with her and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She has been a role model to generations of women, and her legacy will live on in the countless people she inspired.”

— Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

“Ruthie was my friend and I will miss her terribly. The t-shirts simply labeled “RBG” made her notorious. But it was her wit, her tenaciousness, and her skill as a jurist that made her an icon.

As a young mom heading off to Rutgers law school, I saw so few examples of female lawyers or law professors. But Ruthie blazed the trail. I’m forever grateful for her example — to me, and to millions of young women who saw her as a role model.

Later, Ruthie’s groundbreaking work as a legal advocate for women led to a distinguished career as a federal judge and a Supreme Court Justice. Her lifelong dedication to fighting for justice for everyone, and her love for our nation, will be sorely missed.

With voting already underway for the 2020 elections, Ruthie’s ‘most fervent wish’ was for her replacement not to be named ‘until a new president is installed.’ We must honor her wish.”

— Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

“Justice Ginsburg served our nation with a deep reverence for the law and our Constitution. Her fight for women’s equality inspired all women to pursue their dreams without limits, and her grit, character and sharp wit made her an iconic and inspirational jurist beloved by people young and old. The beautiful friendship she shared with the late Justice Scalia serves as a reminder to all Americans to treat each other with kindness and respect, despite our differences. Justice Ginsburg’s record of distinguished service leaves an indelible mark on our country that will endure for generations to come. She and her husband Martin shared a full life together, and Ann and I pray tonight that her family finds comfort during this time.”

— Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah

“For more than a quarter century on the highest court in the land, Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly for greater justice, equality and opportunity for all people. She was a trailblazer in so many ways and for so many people. Her sharp legal mind, tenacity and resilience leave a remarkable imprint on our nation and her legacy will live on for generations to come. Barbara and I join our nation in mourning her passing.”

–Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Justice Ginsburg.

Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer who possessed tremendous passion for her causes. She served with honor and distinction as a member of the Supreme Court.

While I had many differences with her on legal philosophy, I appreciate her service to our nation.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

May she Rest In Peace.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

“We have lost a giant in the history of our nation with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It is heartbreaking that in her final moments she was, as are many others, preoccupied with what would happen after her passing.

I want to make one thing clear: we can, and must, fight.”

— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

“Joining the whole nation tonight in mourning the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a trailblazer, a dedicated public servant, and an inspiration to so many. My prayers are with her family and friends.”

— Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff

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