The Supreme Court Justice died at 87 due to complications from metastatic cancer on Friday

By Virginia Chamlee
September 18, 2020 10:42 PM
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A slew of politicians and celebrities took to social media on Friday night to mourn the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died due to complications from metastatic cancer at the age of 87.

According to a statement released by the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was surrounded by family when she died at her home in Washington, D.C.

"Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague," Chief Justice John G. Roberts said in a statement. "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."

After news of her death was made public, politicians from both sides of the aisle mourned the justice's death.

Though caught off guard by the news after delivering a lengthy campaign speech, President Donald Trump spoke highly of Ginsburg when asked by a reporter before he boarded Air Force One.

"She led an amazing life," Trump, 74, said. "What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agreed or not ... I'm actually saddened to hear that."

President Donald Trump and late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
| Credit: getty images (2)

In a statement, Trump later said that Ginsburg was "renowned for her brilliant mind," and that she "demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one's colleagues or different points of view."

"A fighter to the end, Justice Ginsburg battled cancer, and other very long odds, throughout her remarkable life," he added. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ginsburg family and their loved ones during this difficult time. May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world."

Current Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden said in statement, "Tonight our nation mourns an American hero, a giant of legal doctrine, and a relentless voice in the pursuit of that highest American ideal: Equal Justice Under Law."

"Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us," he added. "She fought for all of us. As a young attorney, she persisted through every challenge that an unequal system placed in her way to change the laws of our land and lead the legal charge to advance equal rights for women."

Biden also recalled presiding over Ginsburg's confirmation hearing as a senator in 1993, saying that she "practiced the highest American ideals as Justice" and "stood for all of us."

"It's hard to believe it was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearing," Biden, 77, said. "In the decades since, she has been absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and opportunity for everyone."

Biden added: "She never failed. She was fierce and unflinching in her pursuit of ... the civil rights of everyone."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
| Credit: Terry Ashe/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush was one of the first to release a statement regarding Ginsburg's death, saying that he and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, were mourning her loss.

"Laura and I join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg," Bush said. "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."

Bush, 74, added: "Justice Ginsburg loved our country and the law. Laura and I are fortunate to have known this smart and humorous trailblazer, and we send our condolences to the Ginsburg family."

Former President Jimmy Carter also released a statement on behalf of he and his wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

"Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," Carter, 95, said. "A powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality, she has been a beacon of justice during her long and remarkable career. I was proud to have appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980."

Carter added: "We join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a truly great woman. We will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who appointed Ginsburg to the Supreme Court, also paid tribute.

"Justice Ginsburg inspired the generations who followed her, from the tiniest trick-or-treaters to law students burning the midnight oil to the most powerful leaders in the land. Michelle and I admired her greatly, we’re profoundly thankful for the legacy she left this country, and we offer our gratitude and our condolences to her children and grandchildren tonight, "said Obama, 59. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her."

"We have lost one of the most extraordinary Justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and landmark opinions moved us closer to a more perfect union. And her powerful dissents reminded us that we walk away from our Constitution’s promise at our peril," wrote Clinton, 74.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
| Credit: Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Attorney General Bill Barr paid tribute to the legal mind in a statement released via the U.S. Justice Department. Calling hers one the "great lives in the history of American law," Barr said Ginsburg was "a brilliant and successful litigator, an admired court of appeals judge, and a profoundly influential Supreme Court Justice."

"For all her achievements in those roles, she will perhaps be remembered most for inspiring women in the legal profession and beyond," Barr's statement continued. "She and I did not agree on every issue, but her legal ability, personal integrity, and determination were beyond doubt. She leaves a towering legacy, and all who seek justice mourn her loss.”

Others who honored the justice via public statements or on Twitter include former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Christopher Scalia, the son of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016 while serving as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

It wasn't only politicians who mourned the loss of Ginsburg, a champion of women's rights who was first appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993.

Celebrities and business leaders including Kerry Washington and Bill Gates also took to social media to express their condolences.

"Her rest is earned," Washington, 43, wrote on Twitter. "It is our turn to fight."

"Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer who devoted her entire career to fighting for equal justice for women, because she knew it would improve life for everyone," Gates, 64, said in his statement. "America is a better place because of her service. I am inspired by her life and legacy."

Sharing a photo of herself with the late justice, Barbra Streisand wrote, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant of the Supreme Court. She was an inspiration to legal scholars and women. As for her replacement, Mitch McConnell set the precedent: no nominees even get a hearing this close to an election."

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
| Credit: Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post/Getty

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also released a statement expressing sadness at the loss, but added that a nominee to replace the justice — appointed by President Donald Trump — "will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

The statement is noteworthy given McConnell's past stance on nominating new Supreme Court Justices so close to a presidential election.

When Justice Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 election, McConnell declared it too close to Election Day to consider a replacement, refusing to allow consideration of then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee for nearly a year.

The November 3 election between Trump and Biden is 45 days away.

In his statement regarding Ginsburg's passing, Biden offered a strong rebuke of McConnell's wishes.

"Tonight and in the coming days, we should focus on the loss of the justice and her legacy," Biden said. "But there is no doubt. Let me be clear: the voters should pick the President and the President should pick the Justice for the Senate to consider."

Biden continued: "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016, when there were almost ten months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today."

Just days before her death, NPR reported that Ginsburg told her granddaughter it was her "fervent wish" not to be replaced "until a new president is installed."

A private interment service for Ginsburg will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, the Supreme Court said.