‘Stunned, devastated, crushed’: Leaders on Justice Ginsburg’s death


Lawmakers across the Pacific Northwest react to the death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg gestures as she speaks to Georgetown University law students in Washington, DC on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) –– “Stunned, devastated, and crushed.” 

News of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death swept social media like a tidal wave Friday afternoon, eliciting reactions from people young and old around.

Lawmaker from around the Pacific Northwest chimed in to share their condolences and thoughts. 

I am stunned, devastated, and crushed by the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing.

This is an unfathomable loss for our country. Ruth Bader Ginsburg will go down in the history books as a hero who made a profound impact on gender equality in our nation, both through her trailblazing legal advocacy and her tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court. She will also be remembered as an unwavering champion for justice, especially for the rights and interests of those too often forgotten or marginalized by society. When the Court made decisions that prioritized the interests of the privileged and powerful at the expense of others, Justice Ginsburg stood strong as the moral conscience of the Court. Her powerful words fighting against political corruption, racial injustice, and attacks on women’s health and autonomy will continue to reverberate throughout America. I have no doubt that her work will inspire many more champions for justice for decades to come. Justice Ginsburg herself had expressed that it was her ‘most fervent wish’ not to be replaced on the Court during this presidential term. Since my Republican colleagues have also been adamant than 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.  

Thank you, Justice Ginsburg, for a lifetime of service to building a better America. It is impossible to express how much we will miss you.

Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley

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.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

We have lost one of the greatest American patriots to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was so much more than a judge; she was one of America’s greatest champions for justice, in the truest sense of the word. Trudi and I are devastated.

Justice Ginsburg leaves an enormous legacy of advancing women’s equality in American jurisprudence and upholding reproductive rights. She fought to preserve the Voting Rights Act and enshrine equality under the law for the LGBTQ community on the Court. In a career as a litigator fighting for equal rights for women, she repeatedly overcame gender-based discrimination in the service of others facing oppression.

Justice Ginsburg was a public servant who kept America true to its purpose. She never shied away from vigorously dissenting when the Court set back the course of justice. Her career over the decades inspired countless others to join the fight for equality. Generations of Americans, from those who fought at her side for decades to young people inspired by her guts and brilliance, will remember her as a folk hero.

I have faith that no matter what happens next, Justice Ginsburg’s legacy will have reshaped America forever. We should all raise our voices to make sure her last wishes are met: Her seat should not be filled until 2021.

I believe the voice of the American people will be heard to make sure we will honor the life, the career and the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As she once wrote, ‘The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.’

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

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.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first Justice I voted for. Tonight, my heart is breaking for a million reasons—for her family, for our country, for my North Star. I’ll remember her as a friend, a role model, and a woman who opened doors for all the rest of us with her genius and her relentless pursuit of justice, freedom, and equality for each and every one of us, no matter who we are. That fight for justice, which she led so passionately for so long, is now ours to take up in her memory. Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave her all to us, and I will give mine to making sure the American people have their next President before her seat is filled.

Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray

Justice Ginsburg was a giant—our longest-serving female Supreme Court Justice. She will be remembered as a fierce warrior against gender discrimination. Every woman who has ever had to advocate for the law owes her a great debt of gratitude. We have lost a real hero. Justice Ginsburg stood by the most vulnerable in her decisions, from ending single sex admission policies and protecting rights for those with mental disabilities to her dissents standing up for voting rights and paving the way for Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which strengthens protections against pay discrimination. My thoughts are with her family, friends, and everyone in our country who looked up to her for inspiration and comfort.

Washington U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

“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,” tweeted Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden.

Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer tweeted, “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not just a giant in American judicial history but helped define an era with her clarity of thought and moral purpose. Let’s pause to reflect on her amazing life, tremendous accomplishments & inspiration, especially for several generations of women.”

“We owe immense gratitude to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” tweeted Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “She judged with clarity, conviction, and righteousness. She was, and will always be, a hallmark of what our judicial branch should represent in every decision.”

The collective OR Senate Democrats tweeted, “We are saddened by this great loss for our country. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg led with tenacity and a fierce dedication to equity and fairness. We’re better for her contributions & must ensure her legacy carries on in our work toward justice. Rest in power.” 

The leadership, staff and members of the NAACP Portland Branch mourn the loss of a modern-day champion for social change in the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When Bill Clinton nominated her, he called her the “Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law,” a reference to the founder of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. However, there can be no doubt that over the course of her 27 years on the highest court, Justice Ginsburg placed herself in a class all her own. 

In ensuring that her life’s work is properly revered and her legacy honored, we must demand that the president, the Senate Majority Leader and his colleagues keep the commitments they have made and honor the precedents they have set—the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. 

Politics notwithstanding, the extraordinary contributions of Justice Ginsburg as a citizen, an advocate, an attorney and a jurist are beyond measure. Her memory will abide forever more, and her loved ones are in my prayers tonight, and in those of the entire NAACP family.

Rev. E.D. Mondainé, President of the Portland NAACP

We acknowledge the life and service to our country of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and express our condolences to her family,” stated Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier.  “In this historic time, we look forward to the announcement of President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy.  It is vital to confirm a justice who will faithfully interpret the Constitution, as written, for the preservation of law and order, and so our American way of life can survive and thrive well into the 21st century.

We also urge all political leaders at all levels of government, especially in Portland, to exercise zero tolerance for any and all political violence as our nation moves forward with the nomination process.

Oregon Republican Party

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trail blazer, whose life’s work fighting for equality should be a guiding light for us all,” said Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek. “I am profoundly saddened by her death. As was the case four years ago with a Supreme Court vacancy, a replacement should not be considered until after the next inauguration.”

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said Ginsburg “epitomized everything I hold dear about the law; she was a role model for so many women lawyers, law students and judges; and she was a giant throughout her career when it came to equality for women; most important, she always gave us hope that the Rule of  Law would prevail. To say she will be missed is an understatement.”

Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.

Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said of Justice Ginsburg: “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. 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.” 

Ginsburg is survived by her two children: Jane Carol Ginsburg (George Spera) and James Steven Ginsburg (Patrice Michaels), four grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her husband, Martin David Ginsburg, died in 2010.

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