Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, died Friday of complications from cancer, and was immediately mourned and remembered for her legal wisdom, her judicial legacy and her profound impact on civil rights and women’s rights in her 27 years on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leaders in Oregon were among those sending remembrances.
From Gov. Kate Brown:
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg created a landscape and set the legal framework for women’s equality in this country — case by case, brick by brick. She was ahead of her time, a true pioneer. Her story was remarkable. Throughout her career, she faced discrimination at every turn –– for being a woman, for being Jewish, for being a mother –– yet overcame it to sit on the highest court in our country.
"Along the way, her work in the legal system led to landmark structural changes that reduced gender discrimination and created more equal protections for all Americans. Her efforts have helped create a more just and fair country – and ensured that even if she was the first one to make it through a certain door, she wouldn’t be the last. Throughout my life and career, in the law and in government, I have walked through doors that she opened. From the time I was a young lawyer, I was inspired by her incredible intelligence, her tenacity, and her unfailing moral compass that guided her work toward creating a more perfect union, one with equal opportunities for all of us.
“Fierce, persistent and filled with grit, she was our hope and our inspiration. Justice Ginsburg never, ever gave up and America is better for it. We can honor her legacy by continuing to work to dismantle all forms of inequality and discrimination, in our justice system and in our lives, with everything we have. Dan and I send our love to her entire family as they mourn the loss of an American icon and legend.”
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, tweeted Friday afternoon:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a once-in-a-generation role model and champion of equal rights. This is such an extraordinary loss for our country.— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) September 19, 2020
Ginsburg’s death leaves a vacancy on the Supreme Court, with less than two months until Election Day, setting up a potential confirmation showdown in the U.S. Senate over her successor. That aspect of Ginsburg’s death has also been drawing national attention, including from U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.
Listen to Merkley’s discussion of Ginsburg’s legacy with OPB’s John Notarianni:
Since my Republican colleagues have also been adamant that a vacant Supreme Court seat should not be filled in a presidential election year, I look forward to the American people making their voices heard before a replacement is selected.— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) September 19, 2020
Merkley also tweeted his personal reaction to the news of Ginsburg’s death.
Stunned, devastated, and crushed. Thank you, RBG, for a lifetime of service to building a better America. It’s impossible to express how much we will miss you.— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) September 18, 2020
U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, and the only woman in Oregon’s congressional delegation, issued a statement Friday evening:
“I am devastated by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and send condolences to her family. Our country owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Justice Ginsburg for her lifelong commitment to public service and advancing and upholding the ideals of our Constitution. After experiencing discrimination early in her career, she went on to become a passionate advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. A brilliant legal strategist, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU and argued several cases at the Supreme Court before being nominated and confirmed to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980 and then the United States Supreme Court in 1993. Throughout her career and her life, Justice Ginsburg was always striving to make our country a more perfect union. I join the millions in the United States and around the world who are mourning our profound loss tonight. May her memory be a blessing.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the timing of Sen. Jeff Merkley’s tweets. OPB regrets the error.