'She was one of the greatest Americans ever': Maine politicians react to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing
Susan Collins, Sara Gideon and Angus King are among the Maine politicians sharing statements on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death
People around the nation are reacting to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at the age of 87 of metastatic pancreatic cancer Friday.
Ginsburg overcame adversity because of her gender during her time as a Supreme Court justice and throughout her long law career. She fought for women’s rights and eventually became the leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing.
In the days before her death, Ginsburg, who is often referred to by her initials RBG, dictated a statement to her granddaughter, saying, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on President Donald Trump's pick to replace RBG on the Supreme Court, even though it's an election year. Trump tweeted Saturday morning that he and the Republican Party, who hold a Senate Majority, have an obligation to select a new justice "without delay!"
Many politicians are paying tribute to the late justice, including in Maine. Gov. Janet Mills has ordered U.S. and Maine state flags to be lowered on Saturday in honor of her.
Maine Governor Janet Mills:
“I had the privilege of meeting Justice Ginsburg when I was Attorney General of Maine, and I had the pleasure of watching people argue before her in the gallery of the highest court in the land. She was a gracious, tenacious person with great intellect who was devoted to the integrity of the Court and to the rule of law as it applies to every person in our country. She was one of the greatest Americans ever. On behalf of the people of Maine, I express our deepest gratitude for her service to our nation and our heartfelt condolences to her family during this difficult time.”
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine)
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer for women’s rights, a fierce champion for equality, and an extremely accomplished American who broke countless barriers in the field of law. Throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg surmounted discrimination and sexism through her brilliance, tenacity, and wit, becoming one of the most prominent legal luminaries of our time.
I had the great honor of getting to know Justice Ginsburg personally when the women Senators twice had dinner with her and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She has been a role model to generations of women, and her legacy will live on in the countless people she inspired.”
U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon (D-Maine)
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant for justice, equality, and progress — and my thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time. Throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg fought for women’s rights, reproductive rights, and a more just and fair society. Let us continue that fight in her memory and be inspired by her example for generations to come.”
Senator Angus King (I-Maine)
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)
“Tonight I join the nation in mourning the loss of a towering pioneer and progressive icon. For nearly 30 years, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served as a counterpoint on a Supreme Court long dominated by conservative jurists. She was always a reliable voice for the downtrodden and disenfranchised and that’s why her passing feels so devastating to so many Americans. She held the trust of countless women who admired her unwavering defense of reproductive rights and gender equity.
With less than two months until the election, the Senate should not confirm anyone for this seat until the voters have spoken. Senate Republicans refused to consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court at the end of his presidency and President Trump should be given the exact same treatment.”
Congressman Jared Golden (D-Maine)
“This is a terrible loss for our country. Justice Ginsberg devoted her life to justice as an act of service to her fellow Americans. She takes a place among this nation’s revered and accomplished justices, and has been an inspiration for millions fighting for fairness and equality. My prayers are with her family as they grieve her loss.”
Congressional Candidate Dale Crafts (R-Maine District 2)
"Justice Ginsburg was a dedicated public servant to the American people. Throughout her life, she willfully served the people and placed her trust in the American system of democracy. My thoughts and prayers extend to Justice Ginsburg’s family during this time."
Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra
"Justice Ginsburg was a giant in the fight for a more just and equitable society and we are devastated to learn of her passing. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and loved ones tonight. First as a litigator and advocate for women’s rights, and later as a Supreme Court Justice she transformed our legal system for the better. I hope that we can honor her memory by working together for a more equitable future for all Americans."
Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.)
“Justice Ginsburg was a towering figure, and our country is stronger and more just because of her life’s work. A trailblazer with an unmatched legal mind, Justice Ginsburg fought and won fights for women’s equality throughout her career as a litigator. And on the Court, she was a powerful voice for justice, whether in the majority or in dissent. Tom and I join all Americans in mourning the loss of this American giant who helped move our country toward a more perfect union. May she rest in peace.”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
“It’s with tremendous sadness that I learned of the passing of Justice Ginsburg. America has lost its greatest champion of women’s rights in a generation. Her legacy will live on through the many freedoms that women enjoy throughout our society. She will forever be known for her profound strength, unparalleled intellect and uncompromising values. Throughout her time on the Court, she fought tirelessly for equality for all races, creeds and gender identities. America is a better nation because of her service. My thoughts and prayers are with the Ginsburg family.”
President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump, who was giving a speech during a campaign rally in Minnesota when the news broke, was told of her death by the White House press pool.
"She just died? Wow. I didn't know that. She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life," he said.
In a statement, the president called Ginsburg a “titan of the law." Trump said she was “renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court” and she demonstrated “that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden
"Tonight our nation mourns an American hero, a giant of legal doctrine, and a relentless voice in the pursuit of that highest American ideal: Equal Justice Under Law.
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.
Tonight, and in the coming days, we should be focused on the loss of Justice Ginsburg and her enduring legacy. But just so there is no doubt, let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg. This was the position that the Republican Senate took in 2016, when there were nearly nine months before the election. That is the position the United States Senate must take now, when the election is less than two months away. We are talking about the Constitution and the Supreme Court. That institution should not be subject to politics."
Former President Barack Obama
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored."
Former President Bill Clinton
Clinton appointed Ginsburg to the Supreme Court in 1993.
"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."
Former President George W. Bush
"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."
This story will be updated.