She was the second woman to ever serve on the United States Supreme Court and became a cultural icon as a pioneering fighter for women’s rights even as she entered her ninth decade.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be deeply missed by America. She passed away Friday at age 87.
“Tonight we mourn, we honor, and we pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family,” former vice president Joe Biden said after hearing the news. “Tomorrow we fight for her legacy. “
“Today we lost a true American hero,” the Florida Democratic Party said in a published statement. “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer and a tireless champion of justice and equality. This loss is immeasurable, but we must honor her legacy and keep fighting for justice even in the face of fervent opposition.”
“Tonight, as we mourn the passing of one of the most effective Supreme Court Justices in history, we remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work as critically important to the way that many Americans are able to live their lives in freedom,” said Annisa Karim, chairwoman of the Collier County Democratic Party.
“Not only did she blaze a path for equality for women, she was a staunch defender of everyone’s civil liberties. She used her immense talent to do her work to the best of her ability. The freedoms we have won through her hard work and determination can just as easily be reversed with the appointment of Supreme Court Justices bent on returning the country to a place of liberty and justice for the privileged few. Her legacy is in our hands now and we must work to protect it because when we succeed in that, we succeed in procuring liberty and justice for all.“
“Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement. “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.”
Born in Depression-era Brooklyn, Ginsburg excelled academically and went to the top of her law school class at a time when women were still called upon to justify taking a man’s place. She earned a reputation as the legal embodiment of the women’s liberation movement and as a widely admired role model for generations of female lawyers.
Working in the 1970s with the American Civil Liberties Union, Ginsburg successfully argued a series of cases before the high court that strategically chipped away at the legal wall of gender discrimination, eventually causing it to topple. Later, as a member of the court’s liberal block, she was a reliable vote to enhance the rights of women, protect affirmative action and minority voting rights and defend a woman’s right to choose an abortion.
On the court, she became an iconic figure to a new wave of young feminists, and her regal image as the “Notorious RBG” graced T-shirts and coffee mugs. She was delighted by the attention, although she said her law clerks had to explain that the moniker referred to a deceased rapper, the Notorious B.I.G. She also was the subject of a popular film documentary, “RBG” .
When she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2015, her colleague and improbable close friend, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote about her dual roles as crusader and judge. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg has had two distinguished legal careers, either one of which would alone entitle her to be one of Time’s 100,” wrote Scalia.