Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday from complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, according to published reports. Ginsburg was 87.
Reports of her death prompted immediate reaction. On Twitter, state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, wrote: “No no no no no no no.”
U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Bourne, issued a statement. “I’m profoundly saddened by the loss of Justice Ginsburg. This diminutive woman in height was truly a giant, a Justice for the ages. She bridged the gap between young and old. She bridged the gap within the Court from discord to civility. For equality for women, equality for LGBTQ Americans, equality for us all – she set a standard for fairness and equal rights under the law.”
U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked President Barack Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court in his final year in office, has issued a statement, saying this time it’s different:
“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term,” McConnell said. “We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.
“By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Former President Barack Obama issued a statement describing Ginsburg “as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist.”
He also addressed the appointment of her successor reminding Republicans that they set the new standard of not filling an open seat until a new president is sworn in. “A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment,” Obama said. “The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle. As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard. The questions before the Court now and in the coming years — with decisions that will determine whether or not our economy is fair, our society is just, women are treated equally, our planet survives, and our democracy endures — are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process.”
President Trump issued a statement on Twitter praising her as “titan of the law.” He did not address selecting her successor.
“Renowned for her brilliant mind and powerful dissents at the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view. Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds.”
Former President Bill Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the nation’s highest court, tweeted: “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.”
Laurence Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor of Constitutional Law Emeritus at Harvard, and frequent Island visitor, tweeted: “The Constitution’s heart aches at Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. My heart hurts too. Her contribution to our history will live as long as America lives. May she rest in peace and power. I pray for the soul of our nation.”