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Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

According to the United States Supreme Court, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87:

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. She was 87 years old. Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993. She was the second woman appointed to the Court and served more than 27 years. She is survived by her two children: Jane Carol Ginsburg (George Spera) and James Steven Ginsburg (Patrice Michaels), four grandchildren: Paul Spera (Francesca Toich), Clara Spera (Rory Boyd), Miranda Ginsburg, Abigail Ginsburg, two step-grandchildren: Harjinder Bedi, Satinder Bedi, and one great-grandchild: Lucrezia Spera. Her husband, Martin David Ginsburg, died in 2010.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said of Justice Ginsburg: “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.”

Justice Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. During her more than 40 years as a Judge and a Justice, she was served by 159 law clerks.

While on the Court, the Justice authored My Own Words (2016), a compilation of her speeches and writings.

A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

In its article on Judge Ginsberg’s passing, NPR reported:

Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Althought Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to move forward on the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 pending the results of the election, it is unlikely that he will drag his feet until after the 2020 election should President Trump put forward a name. With Republians enjoying a majority in the Senate, Democrats can do little but try to stall nomination hearings.

In the meantime, the new Supreme Court term begins in October. The Court will move forward with only eight Justices until Ginsburg’s replacement is confirmed, throwing the balance of power between progressive and conservative Justices into question and undermining Chief Justice John Roberts’ recent role as swing vote.

Update

Senate Majority Leader McConnell issued the following statement:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

The Senate and the nation mourn the sudden passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life.

Justice Ginsburg overcame one personal challenge and professional barrier after another. She climbed from a modest Brooklyn upbringing to a seat on our nation’s highest court and into the pages of American history. Justice Ginsburg was thoroughly dedicated to the legal profession and to her 27 years of service on the Supreme Court. Her intelligence and determination earned her respect and admiration throughout the legal world, and indeed throughout the entire nation, which now grieves alongside her family, friends, and colleagues.

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In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.

By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.

President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.

California State Senator Pat Bates (R-CA36) issued the following statement:

“I’m very saddened to learn of the passing of Justice Ginsburg. While she is best known for her advocacy of justice and equality, her friendships with people with whom she disagreed, including Justice Antonin Scalia, served as a reminder of her unique character demonstrating that people can passionately disagree on issues with respect.

“I send my condolences to Justice Ginsburg’s family as our nation pays tribute to her extraordinary life of service.”

Congressman Harley Rouda (CA-48) released the following statement:

“Tonight, I am thinking about the doors Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s trailblazing career opened for my daughter and millions of women across the United States. Justice Ginsburg’s moral clarity and constitutional conviction made our nation a more perfect union.
Justice Ginsburg’s “most fervent wish is that [she] will not be replaced until a new President is installed.” I call on all United States Senators to honor that wish and commit to halting Supreme Court nominations until after the next Presidential Inauguration.”

California Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) released the following statement:

“My deepest sympathies are with those who loved, knew, and looked up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This August marked 27 years of service to our country as a Supreme Court Justice and we mourn her loss, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement:

“Justice Ginsburg devoted her extraordinary life and intellect to making the words of our nation’s founding documents more true. Throughout her historic legal career, her contributions as a jurist to the cause of equality for women and men were unmatched. Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly for the rights of women at work, at school and in the life of our nation. She proved over and over again that sex-based discrimination harmed not just women, but men and families, and that reckoning with this inequality was required for our nation to live out its promise.

“In moving our nation forward, she inspired millions among us, including so many women and girls, to reach higher, dream bigger and dissent more passionately. Though this loss is incalculable, her legacy will live on in the fairer, more just society that she bravely ushered in and that we must, to honor her, safeguard. Our thoughts and prayers are with her colleagues, her family and all Americans in mourning.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement:

Judicial Watch sends it condolences to the family of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She had a wonderful judicial temperament that will always be remembered.

President Trump now has a historic opportunity to nominate yet another constitutional conservative who will honor the Constitution and the rule of law across the full spectrum of constitutional issues.

And the U.S. Senate should move quickly to work with President Trump to consider and approve a new justice who will faithfully apply the U.S. Constitution. There is no reason we cannot have a new justice by Election Day.

The Hispanic National Bar Association, through its National President Irene Oria, issued the following statement:

The HNBA joins the nation in mourning the passing of Justice Ginsburg, a legal giant, and offers its deepest condolences to her family and friends. Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer in a class of her own – a fervent defender of civil liberties and civil rights as an attorney, and a bridge builder on our nation’s highest court. She has left an indelible mark on the legal profession and on this nation’s record of gender equality and the rule of law. May she rest in peace.

We add that it is impossible to ignore the state of rank partisanship and political polarization our nation currently finds itself in. While the process of nominating and confirming a Supreme Court Justice has fallen victim to this growing polarization in our nation, we remind the members of our U.S. Senate of the sacred constitutional duty that they have to represent the interests of every American.
The HNBA urges U.S. Senators, acting in their special role as guardians and the conscience of our nation, to band together to outline a fair and just process for the nomination and confirmation of future Supreme Court nominees. In this moment in our history, in the throes of a presidential election, it is even more important that a fair and just process to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat be arrived at through consensus, putting the interests of the American people first and foremost.

We urge Senators to use their collective bipartisan power to block any attempts to inject further partisanship into a Court that above all represents an independent and impartial check on the other two branches of our nation’s government. Failing to achieve consensus on Supreme Court nominees would leave us fearing for the future reputation of the Supreme Court as a fair arbiter of justice.

Democratic Party of Orange County Chair Ada Briceño released the following statement:

“Our nation is grieving the loss of a true visionary for equality and justice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught us that our Constitution’s first words, “in Order to form a more perfect Union,“ instill the promise of our nation’s soul — a promise we must keep.

I’m grateful to Justice Ginsburg. She once said the song ‘Free to Be You and Be Me’ reflected her hope for all of us. She showed me that my rights, as a woman and as an immigrant, deserve to be as strong as anyone else’s. We are committed to leading, and will always draw strength from the legacy and life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson issued the following statement:

Tonight, the country mourns the loss of a great American jurist and a pioneer in the fight for women’s rights and equal justice under the law. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American hero and icon who will go down in history as one of the most important voices for justice and progress the U.S. Supreme Court has ever known.

A fighter for what’s right until the very end, Justice Ginsburg made it clear in the days before her death that her ‘most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.’

While Donald Trump has shown no limits to the depths to which he’ll sink to secure power, we expect him to honor the dying wish of an American hero. If he won’t do that, we hope that Senator Mitch McConnell will do what’s right and refrain from holding hearings until the next President and a new Congress can be sworn in January.

If Judge Merrick Garland didn’t even deserve a hearing 237 days before an election, there’s no way on earth forcing a Supreme Court nomination 45 days before an election would be even remotely acceptable.

Either way, tomorrow and for every day until January 20th, we’re committed to fighting like hell to ensure that Donald Trump and Senate Republicans don’t destroy Justice Ginsburg’s legacy of progress and steal another Supreme Court seat.

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) issued the following statement:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the most influential Supreme Court Justices in modern history, passed away Friday. She had served on the Supreme Court since 1993. I am in complete shock. She was more than an icon, or a tenacious champion of women’s rights–she was in every sense of the phrase, an American Hero.

It is simply too hard to grasp the loss our nation has suffered. Her life and her legacy have inspired generations of Americans. And on her passing, we must rededicate ourselves to fighting for those ideals she believed in and fought for–the rights and protections of the person less well off, the outsider, the marginalized.

She believed in what was right, what was good, and what was just. We can only follow in her example and live up to her credo that we are all equal under the law.

I can’t imagine the world without her. Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg.