'She never failed': Reaction to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
WASHINGTON – Lawmakers, past presidents, world leaders and pundits reacted Friday night to the death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a lifelong pioneer for gender equality and the second woman to serve on the nation's highest court.
Ginsburg leaves behind an enormous influence on the law as the nation’s preeminent litigator for women’s rights, a federal appeals court judge, a Supreme Court justice for 27 years and, most recently, as the leader of the high court’s liberal bloc, where she served as a bulwark against an increasingly conservative majority.
Even as they mourn Ginsburg's death, officials at the White House and on Capitol Hill began thinking about the process of filling her seat.
Here is a look at how she is being remembered:
President Donald Trump
Trump was speaking at a rally at the time of Ginsburg's passing. Afterward, when asked for a reaction, he said, "She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman – whether you agree or not – she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life.”
"Actually sad to hear that. I am sad to hear that," he continued.
Trump later called Ginsburg a "titan of the law" and that her opinions "have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds."
First lady Melania Trump
The first lady tweeted her condolences on Saturday morning.
"Justice's Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing is a immense loss. Her tenacity & strength were matched by her intellect & compassion, & her spirit will live on in all she has inspired. My prayers are with her family & all who loved her. #RIPRBG"
Former President Barack Obama
The 44th president released his remembrance of Ginsburg in a post to Medium overnight Friday.
"Over a long career on both sides of the bench – as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist – Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It’s about who we are – and who we can be," Obama wrote.
"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." He followed that with a reference to Ginsburg's deathbed wish that her seat on the court not be filled by Trump.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden
The former vice president made remarks Friday night, saying Ginsburg "stood for all of us," continuing that "In the coming days, we should focus on the loss of (the Justice) & her enduring legacy."
"She never failed," Biden continued. "She was fierce, unflinching in her pursuit of civil rights for everyone."
Biden said the winner of the Nov. 3 election should get to pick who succeeds Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
“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.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Former President Clinton, who appointed Ginsburg, said she "exceeded even my highest expectations" and that "Her landmark opinions advancing gender equality, marriage equality, the rights of people with disabilities, the rights of immigrants, and so many more moved us closer to 'a more perfect union."
Former Secretary of State Clinton, who was the Democratic nominee in 2016, thanked RBG, saying she "paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her."
Former President Jimmy Carter
Carter released a statement saying, "Rossalyn and I are saddened by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A powerful legal mind and 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. We join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a truly great woman."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
Schumer, D-Calif., repeated the words Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia: “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.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
McConnell released a statement, saying, "The Senate and nation mourn the sudden passing of" Ginsburg "and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life."
He continued: "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted that the flags above the Capitol would be flying at half staff "to honor the patriotism of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg."
"Every woman and girl, and therefore every family, in America has benefitted from her brilliance."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, put out a statement saying, "Today, we’re just 46 days away from an election. To jam through a lifetime appointment to the country’s highest court – particularly to replace an icon like Justice Ginsburg – would be the height of hypocrisy."
Sen. Susan Collins
Collins, a vulnerable lawmaker who is in a tough reelection campaign and has faced criticism for her vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, gave no indication whether she would vote for a replacement before the election.
"Throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg surmounted discrimination and sexism through her brilliance, tenacity, and wit, becoming one of the most prominent legal luminaries of our time," Collins said in a statement.
"She has been a role model to generations of women, and her legacy will on in the countless people she inspired," the statement concluded.
Sen. Lindsey Graham
Senate Judiciary Committee ChairmanGraham, R-S.C., tweeted that Ginsburg "was a trailblazer who possessed tremendous passion for her causes. She served with honor and distinction as a member of the Supreme Court."
"While I had many differences with her on legal philosophy, I appreciate her service to our nation," he continued.