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Locals offer praise, respect for Ginsburg

By CJ HADDAD - | Sep 23, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a long-time Supreme Court Justice and polarizing public figure, passed away last week after complications due to pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. 

Ginsburg blazed the trail for women in her field, gender equality and women’s rights. She was warmly referred to as RBG or “The Notorious R.B.G.” — a reference to the late Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame rapper Biggie Smalls, known as “The Notorious B.I.G.” who is also from Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Ginsburg served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States after being nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 until her death. She was the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and in recent years, served as the most senior member of the court’s liberal wing. 

Ginsburg will also become the first woman in history to lie in state in the U.S. Capital in National Statuary Hall according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement Monday. 

A Democratic candidate for U.S. House District 19 in the upcoming election, Dr. Cindy Banyai said she was saddened to learn of Ginsburg’s passing.

“”We lost a true giant of courage and compassion last week when we lost Justice Ginsburg,” Banyai said. “Her body of work along with her decisions (as Supreme Court justice) truly made the U.S. a more equal place.”

District 77 State House Democratic candidate Joshua Lopez, an attorney since 1992, said the work of Ginsburg has been historic and critically important to the development of the United States. 

“Justice Ginsburg was an influential fighter for women’s rights even before she rose to the nation’s highest court,” Lopez said. “She maintained that legacy on the Supreme Court with decisions such as United States v. Virginia (1996). Even her dissents were influential, such as in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. (2007), which directly led to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. She also showed the value of collegiality through her close friendship with Justice Scalia, a staunch conservative.”

Cape Coral District 7 Councilmember Jessica Cosden, who is also up for re-election in November, said RBG’s impact in the realm of gender equality is something she, her daughter and countless others can look up to. 

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer. Her work for equality will reverberate for years to come,” Cosden said. “She inspired me, my 10-year-old daughter, and countless others. My entire family was so saddened by this loss. I was grateful to grow up with such an icon. RBG shattered glass ceilings and showed me that success for women was possible both in career and family. RBG was an extraordinary example of a stateswoman.”

Ginsburg battled five bouts of cancer throughout her life, with the most recent discovery revealing lesions on her liver. 

Throughout her life, Ginsburg was a powerful voice and served as an advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union and wrote must-read dissents while serving on the bench. 

Her most notable opinions include: United States v. Virginia (1996), requiring the Virginia Military Institute to open its doors to qualified women; Olmstead v LC. (1999), which involved disability rights and mental illness; Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services (2000), which held a wastewater treatment plant responsible for discharges of pollutants into a nearby river; Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007), which involved gender-based pay discrimination; Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which addressed voter discrimination; and many others. 

Ginsburg’s passing has created some controversy as to when her replacement will be named. President Donald Trump at a recent North Carolina rally said he would put forth a female nominee in the coming days. Last Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump’s nominee would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. Democrats across the country are pointing to the Republican Senate’s decision to block President Barrack Obama’s nominee in 2016. It was reported by National Public Radio that Ginsburg told her granddaughter she wanted her replacement to be appointed by the next president. 

“It’s shameful to watch the hypocritical Republican senators try to push through a nomination ahead of the election,” Banyai said. “Their actions fly in the face of everything they said in 2016 as the blocked Obama’s SCOTUS nomination. I’m tired of the lies and lack of integrity and I know the American people are, too.”

Lopez shared the same feelings towards a decision before Election Day. 

“Unfortunately, it seems like collegiality and adherence to norms is dead in Washington,” Lopez said. “Sen. McConnell, not one hour after Justice Ginsburg passed away, announced that he would push through a nominee, ignoring his own precedent from 2016 in not allowing President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to have a confirmation vote. Many of us knew that Sen. McConnell and the Senate Republicans had zero principles other than bare exercise of power, and this confirms it. Sen. McConnell is the kind of person that, when releasing a photo of him congratulating newly-confirmed Justice Gorsuch, deliberately included in the image a printed photograph of Merrick Garland in the wastebasket. The Senate Republicans are stretching the Constitution to its breaking point simply to maintain minority rule and obtain a decades-long veto on Democratic priorities long after they are swept from power. It is a disgrace.”

Trump took to Twitter last Saturday to address his feelings on naming a replacement.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!,” Trump tweeted.