AUSTIN (KXAN) — The death of 87-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday night after 27 years on the court sent reverberations throughout the country and across Texas, with many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle paying their respects.
Ginsburg, also known as “RBG,” was the second woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court and died on Friday after a years-long battle with cancer.
On Saturday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all Texas flags to be lowered in honor of Ginsburg’s life and legacy, adding:
“My heart goes out to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s family, and Cecilia and I are keeping them in our prayers. Justice Ginsberg was a trailblazer of keen intellect and will be remembered as a judicial giant. She put service above self and leaves behind a grateful nation.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement:
“Our hearts go out to the family of United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a remarkable woman, a fighter of top intellect and reason, who passed away this evening. Justice Ginsburg broke countless barriers throughout her long, distinguished career and served as an example for women across the country. We are thankful for her service.”
Senator John Cornyn expressed his condolences in a statement and via Twitter, saying:
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a titan of the Supreme Court for more than a quarter of a century. Despite our ideological differences, I have always maintained a deep respect for Justice Ginsburg. Her unwavering commitment to public service has inspired a generation of young Americans – particularly women – to reach for their dreams.”
Senator Ted Cruz appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity,” after the news broke. When asked his thoughts on her, Cruz said, in part:
“… She was brilliant and she was a very careful lawyer, and she was a trailblazer. And she leaves a large legacy. Heidi and I are lifting up her family in prayer as they mourn her loss, but she led an extraordinary life.”
In a statement, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said tweeted:
“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a great steward of our democracy who dedicated her life to fair treatment under the law for everyone, especially for women. She laid the groundwork for many and inspired a generation of young leaders.
As we grieve her loss we should all do our best to honor her legacy of fighting for equity, justice and fairness. Diane and I have three daughters and I think of them and how much RBG changed their lives.”
Democratic Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett expressed a sense of loss and a sense of distress at the opportunity for the Trump Administration to now possibly fill Ginsburg’s seat, saying:
“This is a painful loss of a defender of our most fundamental liberties at a time when our very democracy is increasingly imperiled by Donald Trump and his enablers. The best tribute to our beloved RBG is to replace a President who shares none of her values. Everything is at stake; let’s give it everything we have.”
Former Presidential Candidate and former Texas U.S. Representative from El Paso Beto O’Rourke gave his condolences on Twitter, saying:
“So sorry for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s family and for our country. She was a fighter and she was firmly on the side of justice. I hope her example and her legacy can inspire us all in the fight of our lives. RIP RBG.”
Texas Congressman Michael McCaul said in a statement:
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer and inspiration. She dedicated her life to seeking equality and justice and cared deeply about this country. In doing so, she inspired others to seek what is right and persevere despite life’s adversities. As a nation, we mourn her passing, but will never forget her selfless service.”
Nationally, more political figures offered their words in honor of Justice Ginsburg’s life and service.
President Donald Trump released a statement via Twitter, saying, in part:
“…Her opinions, including well-known decision regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans and generations of great legal minds. A fighter to the end, Justice Ginsburg battled cancer, and other very long odds, throughout her remarkable life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ginsburg family and their loved ones during this difficult time. May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world.”
Current Democratic nominee for President Joe Biden released a statement and took to Twitter, saying:
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us. She fought for all of us. As a young attorney, she persisted through every challenge that an unequal system placed in her way to change the laws of our land and lead the legal charge to advance equal rights for women. It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court. In the decades since, she was consistently and reliably the voice that pierced to the heart of every issue, protected the constitutional rights of every American, and never failed in the fierce and unflinching defense of liberty and freedom. Her opinions, and her dissents, will continue to shape the basis of our law for future generations. May her memory be a blessing to all people who cherish our Constitution and its promise.
Meanwhile, Biden also expressed concern over the now vacant seat Ginsburg left behind.
He says voters should be able to pick a President and that that President should be able to pick Ginsburg’s successor. He pointed to the 2016 stance taken by the Republican Senate — when Justin Antonin Scalia’s death left a vacancy nearly nine months out from the Presidential Election.
“That is the position the United States Senate must take now, when the election is less than two months away,” said Biden. “We are talking about the Constitution and the Supreme Court. That institution should not be subject to politics.”
“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.”
Sanders also pointed to the Republican’s decision in 2016 to not vote on the appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, saying:
“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.”
Former President George W. Bush said in a statement:
“Laura and I join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls. Justice Ginsburg loved our country and the law. Laura and I are fortunate to have known this smart and humorous trailblazer, and we send our condolences to the Ginsburg family.”
“Justice Ginsburg inspired the generations who followed her, from the tiniest trick-or-treaters to law students burning the midnight oil to the most powerful leaders in the land. Michelle and I admired her greatly, we’re profoundly thankful for the legacy she left this country, and we offer our gratitude and our condolences to her children and grandchildren tonight.”
Obama delivered a warning to American voters ahead of the Election, saying:
“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in. A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”
Obama expressed concern that an even more Conservative Court would put in jeopardy decisions over a fair economy, a just society, the equal treatment of women, the survival of the planet and the endurance of democracy.
“The questions before the Court now and in the coming years… are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process,” Obama said.
Former U.S. First Lady and 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took to Twitter, saying:
“Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG.”
Former President Bill Clinton expressed his respect for her “powerful dissents,” saying:
“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.”