Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87. The late Justice was battling pancreatic cancer, complications of which led to her passing. Following this news, Ginsburg's fellow Justices on the Supreme Court have all released statements in which they paid tribute to her lengthy and storied career, as PEOPLE noted.
Ginsburg fought for gender equality and women's rights throughout her career even before she joined the Supreme Court. She served on the court for 27 years. According to NPR, shortly before her passing, Ginsburg expressed one of her final wishes to her granddaughter Clara Spera, telling her, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." There will likely be plenty of strife in Washington D.C. in light of Ginsburg's passing, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said that he wants President Donald Trump to nominate a replacement. Although, this would directly contradict the precedent that he himself set in 2016 when he did not allow President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia to advance because it was an election year.
Of course, at the moment, many are simply focused on paying tribute to Ginsburg and all that she achieved throughout her career. The eight other Justices on the Supreme Court have all released statements in which they glowingly honored the late trailblazer.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated by Trump, said in his statement: "Ashley, Margaret, Liza, and I are profoundly saddened by the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and we extend our prayers and deepest condolences to her family and to her four decades of law clerks." Kavanaugh continued to express that Ginsburg will be fondly remembered for all of her contributions towards gender equality."
"No American has ever done more than Justice Ginsburg to ensure equal justice under law for women," he continued. "She was a cherished colleague, and she inspired me, and all of us, with her unparalleled work ethic and devotion to the law. A meticulous and pathmarking judge, she held herself to the highest standards of precision and accuracy in her beautifully crafted opinions. And she inspired all of us to try to meet those same exacting standards. I learned from her principled voice and marveled at her wonderful wit at our weekly conferences and daily lunches. Justice Ginsburg paved the way for women to become lawyers and judges. She made it possible for women and girls like my daughters to compete on equal footing as student-athletes."
He concluded his statement by recounting an anecdote featuring Ginsburg. Kavanaugh explained, "When Justice Ginsburg was last in my office earlier this year, I pointed out a photo I keep of her standing with four women who served as law clerks in my chambers in my first term. As long as I am fortunate enough to serve on the Supreme Court, I will keep that photo prominently in my office as a continuing tribute to Justice Ginsburg and as a daily reminder to work hard and pursue equal justice. May God bless Ruth Bader Ginsburg."prevnext
Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was also nominated by Trump, expressed that he and his family will dearly miss their late friend. "Louise and I have lost a cherished colleague and friend," said Gorsuch said. "For forty years, Ruth served the American people as one of our most distinguished judges. Her sacrifices for the country were many, but always performed with honor. We are blessed by the happy memories that will remain, like traveling with Ruth to London where (to her delight) an uninformed guide kept calling her 'Ruthie,' or all the opera she tried so valiantly to teach me, or her sweet tooth at lunch, or the touching stories of her remarkable life with Marty." He concluded, "We will miss Ruth and our hearts go out to her family. May she rest in peace."prevnext
In Justice Elena Kagan's statement, she called Ginsburg a "hero" and noted how she paved the way for many others, including herself, throughout her career as a lawmaker. Kagan, who was nominated by Obama, said: "To me, as to countless others, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a hero. As an attorney, she led the fight to grant women equal rights under the law. As a judge, she did justice every day–working to ensure that this country’s legal system lives up to its ideals and extends its rights and protections to those once excluded. And in both roles, she held to–indeed, exceeded–the highest standards of legal craft.
"Her work was as careful as it was creative, as disciplined as it was visionary. It will endure for as long as Americans retain their commitment to law. Ruth reached out to encourage and assist me in my career, as she did for so many others, long before I came to the Supreme Court. And she guided and inspired me, on matters large and small, once I became her colleague," she continued. "I will miss her — her intellect, her generosity, her sly wit, her manifest integrity, and her endless capacity for work — for the rest of my life. I give my deepest condolences to her beloved children and grandchildren. May her memory be a blessing."prevnext
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was also appointed by Obama, echoed Kagan's words as she referred to Ginsburg as an "American hero."
"She spent her life fighting for the equality of all people, and she was a pathbreaking champion of women’s rights," Sotomayor said. "She served our Court and country with consummate dedication, tirelessness, and passion for justice. She has left a legacy few could rival. I will miss Ruth greatly. She welcomed me to the Court with a warmth I could not have expected, and I came to feel a special kinship with her. She was someone whose wisdom, kindness, and unwavering support I could always rely on. I will forever cherish the moments we shared."
Sotomayor ended her statement by issuing her condolences directly to Ginsburg's family. "I send my deepest condolences to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild. I know how much she treasured and loved you. She often said that leading a meaningful life means living for one’s family and one’s community, not for oneself. Ruth lived a profoundly meaningful life, and the numerous ways in which she changed ours will never be forgotten."prevnext
Justice Samuel Alito, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, said that he and his family were extremely saddened to learn of Ginsburg's passing. "Martha-Ann and I were deeply saddened by the news that Justice Ginsburg has passed away. Ruth and Marty made us feel at home immediately when I joined the Court, and we will certainly miss her," he said. "Justice Ginsburg will go down as a leading figure in the history of the Court. She will be remembered for her intelligence, learning, and remarkable fortitude. She has been and will continue to be an inspiration for many."prevnext
Justice Stephen Breyer, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton, recounted the very moment that he learned about Ginsburg's death. "I heard of Ruth’s death while I was reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish at the Rosh Hashanah service," Breyer said. "I thought: a great Justice; a woman of valour; a rock of righteousness; and my good, good friend." He added, "The world is a better place for her having lived in it. And so is her family; her friends; the legal community; and the nation."prevnext
In Justice Clarence Thomas' statement, he looked back fondly on the friendship that he and Ginsburg shared. Thomas, who was nominated by President H. W. Bush, also explained that he admired the immense amount of strength that Ginsburg showcased even when there were difficult events going on in her personal life. "My wife, Virginia, and I are heartbroken to learn of the passing of our friend, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," he said. "Ruth and I first met when I began my tenure on the D.C. Circuit in 1990. With the exception of the brief period between our respective appointments to the Supreme Court, we have since been judicial colleagues. Through the many challenges both professionally and personally, she was the essence of grace, civility and dignity. She was a superb judge who gave her best and exacted the best from each of us, whether in agreement or disagreement. And, as outstanding as she was as a judge, she was an even better colleague – unfailingly gracious, thoughtful, and civil."
"Through her loss of her wonderful husband, Marty, and her countless health challenges, she was a picture of grace and courage. Not once did the pace and quality of her work suffer even as she was obviously suffering grievously. Nor did her demeanor toward her colleagues diminish," Thomas added. "The most difficult part of a long tenure is watching colleagues decline and pass away. And, the passing of my dear colleague, Ruth, is profoundly difficult and so very sad. I will dearly miss my friend. Virginia and I will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers."prevnext
John G. Roberts
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, who assumed the high position in 2005 and was nominated by President George W. Bush, broke the news that Ginsburg passed away. "Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague," Roberts said. "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."prev