Political leaders across our region react to passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 11:55 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights, and the court’s second female justice has died at her home in Washington. She was 87.

Vermont’s Congressional Delegation is reacting to Ginsburg’s passing, in a Tweet, Senator Bernie Sanders says, “The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a tremendous loss to our country. She was an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights, and will be remembered as one of the great justices in modern American history.”

Vermont’s Senior Senator Patrick Leahy warned of difficult days ahead in his statement sent Friday night.

“Marcelle and I are overcome with sadness. Almost exactly a year ago Marcelle introduced Justice Ginsburg during an Action For Cancer Awareness event, a memory that Marcelle will always treasure. Justice Ginsburg was brilliant and was a legend of the law. She has become a heroine and even an icon to millions of Americans. She was also unmistakably kind and funny, and a fundamentally decent human being. Difficult days are ahead. And Senators McConnell and Graham must not treat this President’s Supreme Court nominees differently than President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees. They must exhibit a shred of integrity and recognize that abandoning their word now, and breaking all precedents by ramming a nominee through — most likely after the election — would cause the nation tremendous pain. But tonight I will simply reflect on Justice Ginsburg’s life and legacy. I am so thankful for every day she spent here with us, serving the American people with unparalleled grace, integrity, and an unyielding sense of equality and justice. May she rest in peace and power," Senator Leahy said in a statement.

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch echoed Senator Leahy in his statement.

“[Friday night] is a devastating night for our country. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have been small in stature, but she was a titan of jurisprudence. A pioneer from the earliest days of her career, she won a landmark case for women’s rights in 1971, before being appointed to the highest court in the land in 1993. She served with distinction, never letting her colleagues forget the huge impacts that the law has on the most vulnerable among us. I join all Vermonters in expressing gratitude for her service and heartfelt condolences to her family. As the Senate carefully considers a replacement, it is clear that they must adhere to the ‘McConnell Standard,’ and wait until the new year to make their decision. We are at the doorstep of one of the most important elections of our lifetime. In his own words, Senator McConnell has made clear that he is content to “let the American people decide. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be. There can be no vote in the Senate until the American people have voted to decide who will nominate and confirm the next Supreme Court Justice," Representative Welch said in a statement.

Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott is also calling on lawmakers to follow precedent in his statement sent Friday night.

“I am saddened to learn of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I send my heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. History will remember, and our children should learn about, Justice Ginsburg. She was a tireless advocate for justice and equality, and an example for future generations. There is no doubt she will be missed on the court, and in our national dialogue. I know her death will leave many Americans concerned about the appointment of her successor. While it is important to take the time to mourn her passing, we must also follow precedent, as well as her dying wishes, and delay the appointment process until after Inauguration Day,” Gov. Scott said in a statement.

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan called Ginsburg an “American Giant”.

“Justice Ginsburg was a towering figure, and our country is stronger and more just because of her life’s work. A trailblazer with an unmatched legal mind, Justice Ginsburg fought and won fights for women’s equality throughout her career as a litigator. And on the Court, she was a powerful voice for justice, whether in the majority or in dissent. Tom and I join all Americans in mourning the loss of this American giant who helped move our country toward a more perfect union. May she rest in peace," Senator Hassan said in a statement.

New Hampshire Representative Annie Kuster released a statement Friday evening as well.

“[Friday] is an incredibly sad day for our nation. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer, a champion of gender equality, and a revered jurist. Only the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg empowered us to recognize what we are capable of with her courage and grace. I will forever be grateful for her life, her legacy, and the path that she paved. Justice Ginsburg leaves behind an extraordinary legacy that is larger than life. As we mourn this enormous loss, my thoughts are with her loved ones, colleagues, and friends," Rep. Kuster said in a statement.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Justice Ginsburg “embodied all that it means to be New York tough”.

“New York’s heart breaks with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was a daughter of Brooklyn and the embodiment of all that it means to be New York tough -- yet her life was a testament that tough does not preclude acting with respect, grace, and dignity. I know I speak for the entire family of New York when I say we are absolutely devastated by this loss. As an advocate, litigator, professor, and judge, Justice Ginsburg was an unparalleled voice for our better angels and a singular force for equality and justice throughout her extraordinary career. In an era when women like her were asked why they were ‘taking the place of a man,’ she fought tirelessly to ensure our country lived up to its founding ideals, especially for all those marginalized by the status quo -- from women and communities of color, to the disabled and the LGBTQ community. While there is still so much progress left to be made on the march towards gender equality and women’s rights, Justice Ginsberg’s legacy will continue to be a beacon for all of us in the fight. My thoughts are with Justice Ginsberg’s family tonight, especially her daughter Jane and son James,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says Justice Ginsburg inspired her to not let her gender get in the way of pursuing her dreams.

“The world has lost a giant. A brilliant jurist, a resolute champion for justice and a trailblazer for women’s rights, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left a legacy that will echo through history. Justice Ginsburg will forever be a feminist icon who inspired generations of young women--myself included--to follow their dreams, break through barriers and never let gender stand in the way. She will be deeply missed and my prayers are with her family and friends," Sen. Gillibrand said in a statement.

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