Officials react to death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Rose Weldon

September 22, 2020

Originally published in The Island Now on September 22, 2020.

Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, officials across Nassau County and New York State issued statements testifying to her legacy and body of work.

A native of Brooklyn who grew up in Flatbush, Ginsburg completed undergraduate studies at Cornell University and graduated from Columbia University Law School. She died last Friday at 87.

After decades working against gender discrimination with the American Civil Liberties Union, serving as a law professor and holding a federal judgeship, she was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton and was sworn in later that year.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement the morning after Ginsburg’s death that “the cause of justice lost a champion.”

“Justice Ruth Ginsburg inspired generations of women to enter the law, and her legacy will be celebrated for generations to come,” Singas said. “[She] was a personal heroine of mine for her tenacity, resolve, and her unwavering ethical compass. She overcame misogyny and anti-Semitism to serve with distinction on America’s highest court as a clarion voice for the vulnerable and oppressed. My heart is with her family, friends, clerks, staff, and the millions she inspired in her life and work.”

State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) wrote on Twitter that the “nation mourns the loss of a true giant.”

“Tonight we say goodbye to one of the greatest Americans of our time, Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Kaplan said. “She paved the way for generations of women to pursue their dreams, and her legacy will endure as an inspiration for us all. Thank you, RBG.”

U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) were also among those who spoke on the late justice.

“Our nation has lost a giant,” Suozzi wrote on Twitter. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a ferocious champion of women’s equality and civil rights. Her legacy will serve as an inspiration for generations of Americans to come. Rest In Peace, good and faithful servant.”

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves behind an unmatched legacy as one of the most important forces for women’s rights in modern-day history,” Rice said in a statement. “She paved the way for women everywhere and she continued fighting, even until her last day.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to memorialize Ginsburg with a statue in Brooklyn, and ordered that certain state landmarks be lit in blue in her honor last Saturday.

“New York’s heart breaks with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Cuomo said in a statement. “She was a daughter of Brooklyn and the embodiment of all that it means to be New York tough – yet her life was a testament that tough does not preclude acting with respect, grace, and dignity. I know I speak for the entire family of New York when I say we are absolutely devastated by this loss. As an advocate, litigator, professor, and judge, Justice Ginsburg was an unparalleled voice for our better angels and a singular force for equality and justice throughout her extraordinary career. In an era when women like her were asked why they were ‘taking the place of a man,’ she fought tirelessly to ensure our country lived up to its founding ideals, especially for all those marginalized by the status quo – from women and communities of color to the disabled and the LGBTQ community.

Plans call for Ginsburg’s body to lie in repose at the Supreme Court building for two days and then lie in state for a full day in the Capitol, the first woman and the first person of the Jewish faith to be accorded the honor. Ginsburg will be buried in Arlington National Cemetary next to her husband Martin D. Ginsburg, a tax lawyer and native of Rockville Centre who predeceased her in 2010 after 56 years of marriage.

Ginsburg is survived by her two children, Cedille Records president James Steven Ginsburg and Columbia Law School professor Jane C. Ginsburg, and four grandchildren.

Until a replacement is nominated by the president and approved by the Senate, Ginsburg’s seat on the Court’s bench will be draped with black wool crepe.

“While there is still so much progress left to be made on the march towards gender equality and women’s rights, Justice Ginsburg’s legacy will continue to be a beacon for all of us in the fight,” Cuomo said.

“Justice Ginsburg had an unwavering faith in the goodness of humanity, and she believed these trying times were only an anomaly,” Rice said. “It is now up to us to prove her right.”