The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday brought an outpouring of support from political and legal leaders in Massachusetts. Ginsburg, a liberal firebrand who became a legal and feminist icon, died of complications of metastatic pancreas cancer at her home in Washington, D.C. She was 87 years old.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren described Ginsburg as an “icon.” In a series of tweets Friday night, Warren referred to Ginsburg as her friend “Ruthie,” and credited her with ushering in a generation of female lawyers and law professors. The senator also urged lawmakers to respect the late justice’s wish that she not be replaced on the Supreme Court until a new president is elected:
“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.”
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey called Ginsburg the “embodiment of true justice.” He, too, spoke out against replacing her before the presidential election, citing the precedent established by Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2016.
“If [McConnell] violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court,” Markey tweeted from his campaign account Friday.
The Boston Bar Association dubbed Ginsburg the “architect of legal strategy that made equal rights of women before the law more than an aspiration” and drew parallels between Ginsburg’s death and the recent passing of Massachusetts Chief Justice Ralph Gants.
“The Boston Bar Association expresses its deep and profound sadness at the loss of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As a lawyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tireless advocate for women’s rights; indeed, she was the architect of the legal strategy that made equal rights of women before the law as more than merely an aspiration. As an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg used her penetrating intelligence to protect the most vulnerable among us: employees facing workplace discrimination; criminal defendants challenging unfair law enforcement tactics; women challenging laws unconstitutionally impairing their right to control their own bodies; and Black women and men seeking to exercise the right to vote they fought so hard to obtain. Justice Ginsburg’s loss leaves a deep tear in the fabric of justice. That it comes so soon after the death of our own Chief Justice Ralph Gants, makes the blow all the more cruel. The best way—the only way—for the BBA to honor the legacy of Justice Ginsburg, so similar to the legacy of Justice Gants, is to redouble its commitment to the vision that animated her life and work—the passionate pursuit of equal justice before law. We pledge to do so. RIP, RGB.”
Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and U.S. representatives from Massachusetts joined the chorus of voices honoring the late Supreme Court justice’s legacy:
U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark:
“I am profoundly grateful for the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a hero for women and a warrior for justice.
As a student, mother and litigator, she faced and overcame discrimination, then made the fight to end inequality her life’s work. Her distinguished 27 year career on the Supreme Court was defined by a simple, intrinsic truth: women and men are equal. With this as her North Star, she redefined workplace rights, reproductive justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and health care access. She changed America and guided our progress in becoming a more perfect union.
Generations of people have been liberated by her work and inspired by her tenacity and intellect.
As we mourn the loss of Justice Ginsburg and celebrate her life, we must also honor her “most fervent wish” to be replaced after the next president takes office. Justice Ginsburg always worked for fairness, and the American people deserve the opportunity to select our next president before a new justice is appointed.
I send my prayers and gratitude to the Ginsburg family for sharing her incredible life with us.
Today, America grieves an icon for equality. Tomorrow, we continue her fight.”
Ginsburg showed her grit through four bouts of cancer. Even the briefest hints of her health caused panic among America’s liberals and progressives, who viewed her as a wedge between the repeal of abortion rights and protections for women, a sharply conservative court and even the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution.
Her death has already ramped up campaigning over the makeup of the court in advance of the Nov. 3 election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – who blocked consideration of former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 – said in a statement Friday that he will allow the chamber to vote on a Trump nominee.