Black leaders join in tributes to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Crusader Staff Report

Black leaders across the country are remembering Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon, who died September 18, after decades of crusading for women’s rights on the High Court. She was 87.

Governor Eric J. Holcomb directed flags at state offices across Indiana to be flown at half-staff to honor Ginsburg on Sunday. Holcomb said flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset until the day of Ginsburg’s interment.

On Wednesday, September 23, Ginsburg lay in repose at the top of the front steps to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. D.C. The public was invited to pay their respects from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

Justice Ginsburg was scheduled to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Building on Friday, September 25, where a formal ceremony for invited guests was scheduled for the same day.

Following the services, an interment ceremony will be held next week at Arlington National Cemetery, where Ginsburg’s husband, Martin, was buried in 2010.

Born Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York, she was the second daughter of Nathan and Celia Bader. She grew up in a low-income, working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Ginsburg’s mother, who was a major influence in her life, taught her the value of independence and a good education.

In 1959, Bader graduated at the top of her class from Columbia Law School after transferring from Harvard Law School to follow her husband. She also finished first in her undergraduate class at Cornell University.

Despite her academic achievements, she could not find work at law firms at a time when there were few opportunities for women outside the home. In 1993, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to become the second female justice on the High Court after Sandra Day O’Connor.

During her Supreme Court career, Ginsburg would become a champion for women’s issues and earn the nickname, “Notorious RBG,” for her tenacity on the High Court.

Her death leaves the future of the Supreme Court uncertain, as President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seek to replace her with a conservative voice that will tilt the High Court to the right for decades.

State Representative Vernon Smith said, “The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a blow to this nation. She was the glue that held together the liberal block of the U.S. Supreme Court. She was a tenacious watchdog for equity and equality, a proponent of gender equality and women’s rights.

“She demonstrated continuously her love and dedication to our country. She loved the people of this country and always expressed what was good for all citizens of this nation, not the agenda of the rich and privileged.

“She was dedicated. Her personal struggles did not decrease her intensity in any way. She was always an overcomer. She continued to demonstrate these positive characteristics until life departed from her body. Against all odds, she prevailed.”

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, issued the following statement upon Ginsburg’s death. “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.”

Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. said, “Justice Ginsburg was a jewel for justice, highly principled and held an expansive view of America and the world. She was a champion for equality on every level, including race and gender. She ruled for the common people. We miss her already as we contemplate and review her legal contributions. May she rest in peace. Our prayers are with her family and friends.”

National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial said, “Justice Ginsburg was one of the greatest champions of equal opportunity to serve on the Supreme Court in recent history. Her dissent in Shelby v. Holder—pointing out that ‘throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,’ was eerily prescient. Her commitment to defending the rights of marginalized Americans was never in doubt. Her intelligence, her expertise and her passion will be sorely missed. The National Urban League joins the nation in mourning this monumental loss.”

In a statement, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute said, “The CBCI mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman appointed to the Court. Her litigation strategy was in comparison to that of Justice Thurgood Marshall. She was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and was the most liberal on the court, consistently delivering progressive votes on the most divisive social issues of today, including voting rights, health care, immigration, same-sex marriage, abortion rights, and affirmative action. She was a true champion for justice, and her legacy will live forever.”

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