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'We have lost a giant among us.' California leaders react to death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sacramento Bee logoSacramento Bee 9/20/2020 By Rosalio Ahumada, The Sacramento Bee

Political leaders from Sacramento, California and beyond were devastated Friday to learn of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a staunch advocate for women’s rights and an iconic national figure who served on the highest court for 27 years.

While many responded with a sense of despair, they challenged themselves and others to continue Ginsburg’s fight for a just society that provides equality for all. Here’s a selection of their comments on social media:

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Justice Ginsburg. Her career and her life were an inspiration to me. She was one of our country’s greatest jurists.”

State Supreme Court Associate Justice Goodwin H. Liu, who clerked for Ginsburg: “I am deeply saddened — indeed devastated — to hear today’s news. Justice Ginsburg was a cherished mentor and friend, and the opportunity to know and work closely with her will forever be one of the highlights of my life. Her acumen, grace and fundamental decency shone through in everything she did. Her trailblazing career is an inspiration to people of every background across the country and throughout the world. In so many ways, she is and will be one of the most consequential justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Saturday: “Justice Ginsburg devoted her extraordinary life and intellect to making the words of our nation’s founding documents more true. Throughout her historic legal career, her contributions as a jurist to the cause of equality for women and men were unmatched. Justice Ginsburg fought tirelessly for the rights of women at work, at school and in the life of our nation. She proved over and over again that sex-based discrimination harmed not just women, but men and families, and that reckoning with this inequality was required for our nation to live out its promise.

“In moving our nation forward, she inspired millions among us, including so many women and girls, to reach higher, dream bigger and dissent more passionately. Though this loss is incalculable, her legacy will live on in the fairer, more just society that she bravely ushered in and that we must, to honor her, safeguard. Our thoughts and prayers are with her colleagues, her family and all Americans in mourning.”

State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego: “We have lost a major force of our time. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tireless advocate for justice, a brilliant legal mind, and an outstanding role model for generations of people. Like millions of Americans, I join Justice Ginsburg’s family in mourning her devastating loss, and honoring her legacy of feminism, equality, and progress.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “She really is a historic figure. It’s easy to forget the recent history of discrimination against women in all walks of life, which was allowed without constitutional protection. And in her legal fight, she helped millions of women in this country even before she made it to the Supreme Court.”

Steinberg called U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s promise of senate vote to replace Ginsburg with a nominee from President Donald Trump “horrifically stunning.” Steinberg said “Tonight is not the night to be political. Focus on her life and legacy. The truth about discrimination of all kinds is it always lurks just barely below the surface. It must be a constant and vigilant fight... a fight for the community and the country she fought for with such intellect and grace.”

Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby: “Justice Ginsburg was a hero and inspiration to so many women, including me. She spent her entire career fighting for gender equity. I am grateful for her incredible bravery, intelligence and dedication.”

Attorney General Xavier Becerra said: “We lost a giant of justice today. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg towered over those who sought to close doors or build walls in America. She was the Little Engine That Could for all of us who believe in the American Dream. And she leaves us her story to make us proud. How do you fill the shoes of a giant?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: “The country lost a truly amazing woman tonight with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She may have been small of stature but she was an absolute giant of jurisprudence.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said in a statement that Ginsburg “embodied justice, brilliance and goodness.” “Her passing is an incalculable loss for our democracy and for all who sacrifice and strive to build a better future for our children. We must honor Justice Ginsburg’s trailblazing career and safeguard her powerful legacy by ensuring that the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court upholds her commitment to equality, opportunity and justice for all.”

Lt. Gov Eleni Kounalakis: “It is with great sadness that I heard the news of the passing of RBG. A towering figure, a great warrior for women, justice and democracy.”

Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento: “America has lost a titan of justice and a champion for the voiceless. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tireless warrior for equality and a north star for those seeking a more just democracy.”

Planned Parenthood California wrote: “Thank you, Justice Ginsburg, for always being a fierce defender of our right to control our bodies, our lives, and our destinies. We will continue to fight in your honor. Rest in peace.” Jodi Hicks, the group’s CEO and president, wrote: “Our heart is broken. Cry. Scream. Have a meltdown. Then get into warrior mode. All of us. Everything. Is. At. Stake.”

Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles: I want to express my sincere condolences to the family of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a titan & legend on the Supreme Court whose undeniably brilliant legal mind & dedication to justice & equality moved our country forward. We’ve lost a champion tonight, but her legacy lives on.”

Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley: “Broken-hearted and in disbelief. RBG was a super power, she was Wonder Woman. How could she leave us? RBG we will not, WE WILL NOT let your legacy be tarnished. We will be your freedom and justice fighters. May her memory be a blessing.”

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough: “We have lost an American Icon of untold proportions, a feminist with the steeliest spine, and a jurist of remarkable talent, legal precision, and a yearning for justice for all.”

Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Garden Grove: “Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a champion of Democracy, justice, and gender equality. She had an acute mind for the civil rights of women, men, and children. An inspiration for women young and old, including my grand daughter, photographed here in 2018.”

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles: “Justice Ginsburg was a champion for the rights of all Americans regardless of their sex, race, or class. Her legacy will live on forever. My thoughts are with her friends, loved ones, and those who had the privilege of working with her. We will all feel her loss.”

Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco: “RBG forever. Don’t despair. Fight.” The also said there’d be a candlelight vigil in San Francisco on Friday night.

Bakersfield Sen. Shannon Grove, who leads the state Senate’s Republicans: “My deepest sympathies are with those who loved, knew, and looked up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This August marked 27 years of service to our country as a Supreme Court Justice and we mourn her loss, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived an incredible life, breaking barriers and delivering justice. Her passing is a devastating loss for our country. We can honor her life by continuing to fight for a more just society.”

Rep. Katie Porter, R-Irvine: “I’m thinking today about Justice Ginsburg’s remark that there will be enough women on the Supreme Court when there are nine. History will remember #RBG as a trailblazer and a voice for liberty and equality.”

Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur: “A trailblazer in every sense of the word, Justice Ginsburg knew no barrier too strong and no setback too great in her lifelong pursuit of equality.”

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee and Sen. Kamala Harris: “Tonight we mourn, we honor, and we pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family. But we also recommit to fight for her legacy. Doug and I send our heartfelt prayers to Jane and James, and the entire Ginsburg family, particularly on this holy day of Rosh Hashanah.”

President Bill Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg: “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.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield: “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer who served the Supreme Court—and the country—faithfully for 27 years. My prayers go out to her family during this time.”

Former Senate pro temp Kevin de Leon tweeted a photo of Ginsburg with the popular moniker “Notorious RBG” and “Rest in Power.”

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom: “Absolutely devastated by this news. I don’t know that I can ever quite put into words what Ruth Bader Ginsburg means to me, or has meant to the progress of this country. Her legacy will live on forever, and we will never stop fighting her vision of a more just world.”

California Legislative Women’s Caucus: “As Women’s Caucus leaders, we are devastated by the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Serving 27 years on the Court, she championed justice and equality, serving as a voice and role model for women across the nation.”

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “It was my great honor to watch Justice Ginsburg in action during not one, but two, gerrymandering cases before the court. She was a pioneer and a force for our democracy. Rest in peace.”

Ted Lieu, D-Torrance: “As a civil rights icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg carved out a new path for women in our country - demonstrating that everyone is entitled to justice and opportunity under the law. She was a legal pioneer that our country needed and she will be desperately missed. This is a devastating loss for our country but her memory, and her legacy, are a blessing.”

UC Berkeley’s School of Law: shared a 95-minute interview with Ginsburg during her visit to the school last year. “Less than a year ago we had the honor of welcoming Justice Ginsburg to campus. Her wisdom and impact will resonate throughout history. Rest in power.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose: “She defended equality, freedom, & justice until the end. I never could have broken any glass ceilings without her paving the way. I am heartbroken & forever grateful.”

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin: “While I don’t share Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s judicial philosophy, no one can deny she was the most brilliant of its expositors and a public servant of the highest caliber. Rest in peace.”

Former Congressman Darrell Issa wrote: “A member of The Court’s Liberal Wing, Justice Ginsburg will also be remembered for her strong and genuine friendship with the late Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia — setting an example for the rest of our nation that differences in politics should never come between friends.”

Newsom’s Chief of Staff, Ann O’Leary: “I am a 49-year old woman who has played within the lines of the political fights presented – working quietly to make change behind the scenes – trying to do all I could to build on the benefits provided to me because of the fights that RBG engaged in. From the moment RBG passed, my phone lit up with texts like the one from my retired school teacher neighbor, “RBG died. What are we going to do” or my best childhood friend, “Tell me what to do” or my many, many women lawyer friends essentially saying we WILL fight. ... (I) want people to really understand the profound ways in which RBG structured the possibilities for women today, both personally and professionally. ... I will always honor her legacy.

The Bee’s Daniel Hunt and Michael Mott contributed to this story.


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