Culpeper Star-Exponent: Virginia leaders laud, mourn Supreme Court justice


Joining social and political figures of all stripes, Virginia’s top elected officials publicly shared their appreciation Saturday and late Friday of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The 87-year-old legal pioneer died on Friday at her home in Washington from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court said.

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, Virginia’s senior senator, said the nation “has lost a giant.”

“Thank you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), for your life of fighting for our most vulnerable and championing true equality for all,” Warner tweeted. “History will remember you as a trailblazer and a voice for liberty and equality. #RestInPeace”

Early Saturday morning, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine called Ginsburg “a giant.”

“Justice Ginsburg’s legacy lies in a legal system far fairer than the one she found as one of only nine women in her first-year Harvard Law class. As a litigator, she rid our country of statutes that discriminated against women who were breadwinners and men who were child-rearers,” Kaine said in a lengthy statement. “As a justice, her majority opinions opened Virginia’s last all-male public school to women and freed people with disabilities from the isolating confines of institutions. Just as famously, she was uncompromising when the Court erred on issues of equality and fundamental rights, penning dissents that sharply defended the Voting Rights Act and women’s access to reproductive health care, all while reminding us ‘you can disagree without being disagreeable.’

“My condolences go out to the Ginsburg family, the Court, and the over 300 million Americans who benefit from the more perfect union she brought about,” the former governor said.

Given the court’s Scalia precedent and the fact that voting is underway in multiple states, Kaine said he believes the Senate should wait until after January’s presidential inauguration to consider a nominee to fill the Ginsburg vacancy.

He said he’ll do everything he can to ensure the Supreme Court seat is not filled until then.

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, also lauded the justice.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg blazed a path for so many of us who are in public service, and she will be an example to generations of women, including my three young daughters,” the Virginia lawmaker tweeted on her campaign account. “I’m grateful for her service, her commitment to the law, and the example that she set.”

Separately, when commenting on an Orange County youth event honoring the late Rep. John Lewis that she attended Friday night, Spanberger tweeted: “For those despairing over Justice Ginsburg’s loss & those considering all that her death means for our country & highest court, I am choosing to carry the belief in our country & the hope of these students with me every day until Election Day and thereafter. I hope you will, too.”

Virginia’s Republican party shared its thoughts via Twitter late Friday, posting: “Tonight, our country and commonwealth mourn the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman in U.S. history to sit on the highest court of our land.”

That was followed by, “Our nation now turns to the task of selecting a new Justice, and it is incumbent upon our President and Senate to fulfill their Constitutional obligations to nominate and confirm a new Justice with all deliberate speed.”

On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring praised Ginsburg as one of the nation’s “true leaders.”

“Her courage, moral clarity, and incisive analysis will be so badly missed. She paved the way for so many in this country, and she has inspired generations of women to follow their dreams and make a true difference in the world,” Herring said in a statement. “She transformed our legal system and worked tirelessly to overturn discriminatory statutes, making our country a more fair, equal, and just place. … I’m thankful for her incredible, trailblazing career and I know I join millions of Americans in wishing peace and comfort to her family during this terribly sad time,” he added. “She truly made this world a better place.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff in the justice’s honor.

“It is with the deepest sadness that Pam and I mourn the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a giant on the court, a brilliant legal mind, and an unwavering beacon in the fight for equal justice and gender equity,” Northam said in a statement late Friday. “Justice Ginsburg’s eloquence and passion made the world better and fairer—that includes ensuring my alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute, admitted women as cadets.

“Her loss leaves a tremendous void on the Court and in this country. May her legacy in the pursuit of justice live on, and may her memory be a blessing.”


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