The nation is in mourning this week over the death of Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg passed away on Friday, September 18, from complications of pancreatic cancer. At the time of her death, Justice Ginsburg was 87 years old.
Born on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Justice Ginsburg lived what President Donald Trump called an “amazing life.” The President, who was giving a speech at a campaign rally in Minnesota at the time of Ginsburg’s passing, was visibly shaken upon hearing the news.
“She just died? Wow. I didn’t know that. You’re telling me now for the first time,” President Trump told reporters while preparing to board Air Force One. “She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman. Whether you agreed or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I’m actually sad to hear that…I’m sad to hear that.”
Former Vice President, and current Democratic Presidential-nominee Joe Biden also reacted to the news, saying “Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us.”
President Trump later released a statement via social-media, calling Justice Ginsburg a “titan of the law,” and “a fighter to the end.”
The President then added: “May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world.” Trump ordered all flags in the nation’s capital, and federal buildings across the country to be lowered to half-staff until such time as Justice Ginsburg’s internment.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice followed the president’s lead by issuing a similar proclamation. On Friday, Gov. Justice ordered that all United States and West Virginia flags on state-owned property shall be displayed at half-staff, as well.
“Cathy and I send our deepest sympathies and prayers to the family and loved ones of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” the Governor said at his Monday, September 21 coronavirus media-briefing. “Her dedication to public service left a profound impact on our country and she will be greatly missed.”
In June 1953, Justice Ginsburg earned a bachelor of arts degree in government from Cornell University. Just one month after graduating, she married Martin Ginsburg, the man to whom she would be wed until his death in 2010. In 1956, Justice Ginsburg was one of only nine women accepted to Harvard. And by her second year there, Ginsburg became the first woman in the University’s history to make the prestigious Harvard Law Review. In 1957, she transferred to Columbia Law School, where she would graduate two-years later tied for first in her class. After law school, Ginsburg entered academia, where she would hold teaching positions at both Columbia, and Rutgers University. Then in 1972, Ginsburg co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union, (ACLU) becoming the group’s general counsel one-year later. From there, Justice Ginsburg argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in such landmark cases as Reed v. Reed, Frontiero v. Richardson and Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld, all of which significantly impacted the laws governing gender-equality. On June 22, 1993, former-President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg for the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Former-President Clinton has since acknowledged that Ginsburg was not his first choice for the role, as he famously wanted former New York Governor Mario Cuomo to sit on the bench. However, Governor Cuomo declined the nomination. Ginsburg was then recommended to President Clinton by former United States Attorney General and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. On August 3, 1993, the United States Senate confirmed the appointment of Justice Ginsburg by a vote of 96 to 3.
While as an Associate Justice, Ginsburg remained a fierce advocate for gender-equality. In 1996, she authored the Supreme Court’s opinion in the matter of the United States v. Virginia, the ruling that allowed for the admission of women into the Virginia Military Institute. Ruth Bader Ginsburg served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court for over 27-years, until the time of her death.
In a statement made to The WV Daily News, State Senator Stephen Baldwin said, “Folks talk about Justice Ginsburg’s legal decisions, which absolutely left an indelible mark on American society, and will for generations to come. But when I think of Justice Ginsburg, the first thing that comes to my mind is her example. She made friends with people who were different from her. Justice Scalia, who was literally her polar opposite, was her dear friend. She chose to live in such a way that unites us is greater than what divides us. She was small but mighty, tough yet tender. She was a leader by example. We could all learn from her example right now by seeing the good in people and working to bring out the best in our society.”
“As a strong and fearless female leader and dedicated public servant, Justice Ginsburg served our country with honor and distinction. Her towering legacy will be remembered for generations to come. Charlie and I offer our deepest condolences to Justice Ginsburg’s family during this incredibly difficult time,” said United States Senator Shelley Moore Capito in a statement.
Senator Joe Manchin also released the following words upon hearing of Ginsburg’s passing, “My thoughts and prayers are with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family. Justice Ginsburg dedicated her life to public service. She was a voice for the voiceless and built a career fighting for equal treatment under the law for every American citizen. After 27 years on our nation’s highest court and a lifetime fighting for the principles of democracy, she leaves behind a remarkable legacy. In this time of sorrow, I pray that our country can unite in sending our most heartfelt condolences to her children, grandchildren and all who mourn the loss of this courageous woman.”