As word of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death spread on Friday, tributes quickly poured in from celebrities, athletes, and Democrats and Republicans alike.
Donald Trump said Ginsburg, who died at age 87 of complications from metastatic pancreas cancer, “was an amazing woman” who “led an amazing life”.
The US president’s remarks came shortly after a rally in Minnesota where he said one reason the upcoming presidential election is so important is because of possible Supreme Court vacancies.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, also following a campaign stop in Minnesota, called Ginsburg “a beloved figure” and said, “My heart goes out to all those who cared for her and care about her. And she practiced the highest American ideals as a justice, equality and justice under the law, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us.”
In a statement announcing her death, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said the US had 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,” he said.
Former President George W Bush said Ginsburg was an inspiration to “more than one generation of women and girls” while former President Jimmy Carter called her “a beacon of justice”:
"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." Read full statement: https://t.co/qNGbgc1ZMz
— George W. Bush Presidential Center (@TheBushCenter) September 19, 2020
Carter on Ginsburg: ‘A beacon of justice’ https://t.co/8f5ttQnBrV
— AJC (@ajc) September 19, 2020
In a tweet, Hillary Clinton thanked Ginsburg, who was appointed to the US Supreme Court by her husband President Bill Clinton in 1993, for paving the way for women – including herself.
“There will never be another like her,” Clinton wrote:
Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 19, 2020
Ginsburg died on Friday at age 87 from complications related to cancer, the US Supreme Court said in a statement.
She was only the second woman ever appointed to the nation’s top court when she took her seat 27 years ago.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that flags are flying half-staff over the US Capitol in honour of Ginsburg:
Tonight, the flags are flying at half staff over the Capitol to honor the patriotism of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Every woman and girl, and therefore every family, in America has benefitted from her brilliance.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 19, 2020
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Ginsburg before laying down a political marker, stating unequivocally that any potential nominee Trump puts forward to fill Ginsburg’s seat “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
The Senate and the nation mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/NOwYLhDxIk
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 19, 2020
Democrats will argue vociferously against Trump nominating someone to fill her seat so close to the election on November 3.
However, knowing the golden opportunity they have to replace a reliably liberal justice such as Ginsburg with a conservative justice, Trump and his Republican Party will likely move full steam ahead.
Joe Biden insisted Trump wait until it’s clear who will be the next president before nominating a new justice. “There is no doubt, let me be clear, that the voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed, saying that Ginsburg’s seat “should not be filled until we have a new president”:
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 18, 2020
US Senator Lindsey Graham, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will oversee the nomination hearing of Ginsburg’s successor if a nominee is put forth before January, left the upcoming political battle out of his tribute:
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.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 19, 2020
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.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 19, 2020
At the beginning of her tenure on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was considered left of centre; over the years, she developed into a reliably liberal firebrand, lionised by progressives.
US Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called her passing “a tremendous loss”:
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.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 19, 2020
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is one of US President Donald Trump’s lawyers and does not usually have many kind words for Democrats, also praised Ginsburg.
He said while he “disagreed with many of her decisions … they were all well reasoned and well argued”:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a credit to the Court.
I disagreed with many of her decisions but they were all well reasoned and well argued.
She was a close friend of her ideological opposite, Justice Scalia.
They both loved opera, law and the U.S.A.
May She Rest In Peace
— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) September 18, 2020
World leaders offered up tributes as well, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said her “impact will undoubtedly be felt for generations”:
A profound and fearless advocate for women, equality, and justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s impact will undoubtedly be felt for generations. My thoughts are with her family, colleagues, and all who were inspired by her lifetime of service.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 19, 2020
As only the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first), Ginsburg was an icon to liberal women.
US football star Megan Rapinoe called Ginsburg’s death “devastating”.
This is devastating, an incalculable loss. We owe so much to RBG. Rest in Power Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #RIPRBG
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) September 19, 2020
Tributes flowed in from all corners of Hollywood: singers and musicians as well as television and movie stars, from the likes of Barbara Streisand, Katy Perry and Julia Louis-Dreyfus:
Just heard the worst news… so sad! Ruth Bader Ginsburg you will live in history forever. May you rest in peace. 😢🙏😢
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) September 19, 2020
Her rest is earned. It is our turn to fight.
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) September 19, 2020
My heart is broken. RBG, we did not deserve you.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 18, 2020
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) September 18, 2020
If there is a God, may She bless and keep RBG.
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) September 18, 2020