Local, state, national leaders react to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court's second female justice, has died at the age of 87. 

Officials say Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Her death comes nearly six weeks before Election Day. 

Local and national leaders have been reacting to her death. Some are already weighing in on whether President Donald Trump should nominate her replacement or if the seat should remain vacant until the outcome of his race against Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden is known. 

President Donald Trump

Trump called Ginsburg an "amazing woman," according to The Associated Press.

The president tweeted that Republicans have an obligation to fill Ginsburg's vacant seat on the Supreme Court "without delay."

Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden

Biden said Ginsburg stood for everyone, calling her an "American hero" whose memory should be a blessing to those who "cherish our Constitution."

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sanders issued the following statement on the passing of Ginsburg on his website: 

"The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a tremendous loss to our country. She was an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights, and will be remembered as one of the great justices in modern American history.

Unfortunately, we’ve already heard tonight from Sen. McConnell that he has decided to go against Justice Ginsburg’s dying wishes and violate his own past statements in order to bring a judge nominated by President Trump to the floor of the United States Senate. 

That’s in direct contradiction of his statement in 2016, when he said Supreme Court nominees should not be voted on during a presidential election year: ‘Our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy,’ he said. McConnell is cementing a shameful legacy of  brazen hypocrisy.

Thankfully not all Senate Republicans agree. 

Just today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski came out against an appointment this close to an election. ‘I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee,’ she said. ‘We are 50 some days away from an election.’ In addition, several of McConnell’s other colleagues have previously stated they’re against confirming a new justice this close to an election. Sen. Chuck Grassley said in May, ‘You can’t have one rule for Democratic presidents and another rule for Republican presidents.’ Sen. Susan Collins said,  ‘I think that’s too close, I really do,’ when asked by The New York Times about appointing a justice in October. 

But no one has been clearer than Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Lindsay Graham. He promised in 2018 that ‘if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election.' 

"The right thing to do here is clear. The Republicans in the Senate know it, and many of them have stated it clearer than I could. We should let voters decide. Period."

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, issued the following statement on the passing of Ginsburg: 

"The NAACP family is devastated by the passing tonight of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was an incredibly accomplished civil rights lawyer who devoted her entire legal career to the pursuit of equal justice and eliminating discrimination of all types. When President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court, he called her the 'Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law.'

Justice Ginsburg’s 27-year tenure on the Supreme Court was marked by a passion for justice and the rule of the law. Her long, remarkable record includes her legendary opinions involving disability rights in Olmstead v. LC, and gender equality in the military, United States v. Virginia. She was also known for her powerful dissents, many of which she delivered from the bench. These include dissents in the voting rights decision of Shelby County v. Holder, the gender equity case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire Company Co., and the affirmative action case of Ricci v. Stefano.

Our nation has lost its north star for justice tonight. As we move forward in the weeks and months ahead, we must honor Justice Ginsburg’s memory and extraordinary contributions and remember that the Supreme Court is the ultimate guardian of all of our civil rights and liberties."

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers 

Evers called Ginsburg a "stalwart public servant" and said her death is a "devastating loss."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Barrett called Ginsburg an "American hero" who never stopped fighting for what is right. 

Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell R. Lucas

Lucas released the following statement on the passing of Ginsburg:

"I join the world in mourning the passing of United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was a champion and fighter for gender equality, women’s rights, civil rights, and the rights of all humanity. She enjoyed an accomplished and storied career long before ascending to the highest court in the land. Whether she was fighting for her opportunity to secure a clerkship or conducting extensive research on gender equality and pay equity for women, and authoring several works on the topics, or mapping out strategies to combat gender discrimination – sometimes including males as plaintiffs to demonstrate its harmful effects – Justice Ginsburg exhibited an acute ability to combine her intellect with skills and compassion that were unsurpassed by other legal scholars. Justice Ginsburg’s time on the bench reflected her love for the Constitution and rule of law and her ability to temper justice with mercy. She leaves a legacy of service for young men and women around the world to aspire to do something that she best described as ‘living life not for oneself but for one’s community.’ Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is now elevated to the highest bench in heaven. May her rewards be many and her rest with the ancestors be in power and love."

Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson

Johnson released the following statement regarding Ginsburg's passing:

"I was deeply saddened to hear the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away yesterday at the age of 87. Our country has lost a leader and a revolutionary who will not be forgotten.

As only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg leaves behind a trail-blazing legacy, one that includes being a fierce advocate for women’s rights and a champion for justice. Known as the “Notorious R.B.G.” she was in many ways a cultural icon as well. She inspired a generation to be individuals, free thinkers, and stand up for what is right.

Justice Ginsburg’s character and principals were on display even in her final days as she dictated to her granddaughter, 'My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.'

I hope those in Washington, D.C., and namely the United States Senate, heed those words and postpone rushing a new Supreme Court nominee until after the upcoming election - as was the practice under the current Senate Majority Leader during the 2016 presidential election year."

Milwaukee Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs

Coggs released the following statement in response to Ginsburg's passing:

"In service and in life, fighting for a better tomorrow is never easy. That said, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made it look easy. As only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, she was a trailblazer for women’s equality whose impact on the law will be felt for generations to come.

In the midst of her own devastating health battles with cancer she remained committed to working at this nation’s highest court on cases that help set the trajectory of this country. Last evening, at the age of 87 she passed away.

At such a politically divisive time in our nation she proved to be an even-keeled advocate who helped add reason and stability to the Supreme Court and its decisions. She always encouraged others to “fight for things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."

Justice Ginsburg’s wit and candor will be sorely missed.

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg will have no problem being remembered exactly as she wished as “Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.”

Condolences to her family and this nation should be eternally grateful for her service."

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley

Crowley noted Ginsburg's "grace and courage" that he strives to instill in his three daughters as he expressed his sorrow over her passing.

State Rep. Lakeshia Myers

Myers said her heart felt heavy as she called Ginsburg the "greatest legal scholars of our time."

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin noted Ginsburg's "inspiring and historic life" as she paid tribute to her passing. 

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson

Johnson offered his condolences on Twitter. 

State Sen. Chris Larson

Larson called Ginsburg a "trailblazer" while expressing his sympathy. 

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore

Moore released the following statement regarding Ginsburg's passing: 

"I am incredibly saddened to learn of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing. She was a fearless champion for women who exemplified strength, courage, and toughness.

Her lifelong fight to secure equality for women has inspired new generations and her legacy will be cherished in the hearts of so many.

She will always be forever notorious!

May her memory be a blessing."

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan 

Pocan commented on Ginsburg's passing, noting the loss of a "true champion of justice and equality."

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind 

Kind noted the loss of "a trailblazer, a tireless advocate for equality and a true champion for justice" while paying his tribute to Ginsburg.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Walker noted his sympathy for Ginsburg's family. 

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