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‘Ruthie blazed the trail’: Tributes to Ginsburg pour in after her death

People lay flowers and light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday.
People lay flowers and light candies outside the Supreme Court Friday.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Sorrowful tributes to the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poured in on Twitter and elsewhere Friday night, shortly after the death of the second woman ever to serve on the nation’s highest court.

Many remembered her as a trailblazer who cleared a path for women in law and politics.

“Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Twitter Friday.

“As a young mom heading off to Rutgers law school, I saw so few examples of female lawyers or law professors. But Ruthie blazed the trail. I’m forever grateful for her example — to me, and to millions of young women who saw her as a role model,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

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Warren added that no replacement to the Supreme Court should be named until after the election, reiterating a call that Ginsburg herself reportedly made before her death.

“With voting already underway for the 2020 elections, Ruthie’s ‘most fervent wish’ was for her replacement not to be named ‘until a new president is installed.’ We must honor her wish,” Warren wrote.

Governor Charlie Baker on Saturday morning said that he wanted President Trump and the Senate to wait until after the election before considering a nominee to the high court.

“The Supreme Court is too important to rush and must be removed from partisan political infighting,” Baker said in a tweet.

Baker had tweeted Friday night that Ginsburg was “a force of nature and a role model for so many women and all Americans. Her friendship with the late Antonin Scalia spoke volumes about her ability to separate the person from the politics.”

President Trump took the stage for a campaign event in Minnesota shortly before the news of Ginsburg’s death broke on Friday, and reacted to the news when he heard about it from reporters after finishing.

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“She just died? I didn’t know that,” he said, according to a pool report. “She led an amazing life, what else can you say? Whether you agree or not…she led an amazing life.”

The president released a statement on the passing of Ginsburg later on in the evening, in which he referred to her as a “titan of the law.”

“Renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view,” Trump said. “Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds.”

Trump said Ginsburg was a “fighter to the end” — battling both cancer and “other very long odds” — throughout her life. He did not comment on any plans to nominate a new justice to the Supreme Court in his statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ginsburg family and their loved ones during this difficult time,” he said. May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world."

Former president Barack Obama said “Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals,” and that she “left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored,” in a tweet late Friday night.

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Obama recounted Ginsburg’s path to the Supreme Court in his statement and recalled how “for nearly three decades, as the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality.”

Ginsburg “inspired the generations who followed her,” Obama said in his statement, adding that “Michelle and I admired her greatly, we’re profoundly thankful for the legacy she left this country, and we offer our gratitude and our condolences to her children and grandchildren tonight.”

Ginsburg reportedly told her granddaughter she did not want to be replaced until “a new president is installed" before she died. And in his statement on her passing, Obama brought up how “four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly vowed to bring to a vote whoever President Trump nominates on Friday. He refused to consider Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court months prior to the election in 2016.

But in his statement, Obama said that a “basic principle of the law – and of everyday fairness – is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”

Obama said both “the legitimacy of our courts” and the “fundamental workings of our democracy” all depend on that principle. He said Republican Senators are now “called to apply that standard.”

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“The questions before the Court now and in the coming years – with decisions that will determine whether or not our economy is fair, our society is just, women are treated equally, our planet survives, and our democracy endures – are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process," Obama said.

Former vice president Joe Biden remembered Ginsburg as “a giant in the legal profession” and “a beloved figure.”

“My heart goes out to all those who cared for her and care about her,” he said in brief remarks to reporters late Friday. “She practiced the highest American ideals as a justice: equality of justice under the law.”

Biden added that no new justice should be considered until after the November election.

Senator Ed Markey went further on Friday, arguing that if McConnell moves to vote on a replacement, Democrats should push to add more justices to the Supreme Court bench should they regain power in November.

“Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court,” Markey wrote on Twitter.

But even as debate raged over when her replacement should be considered, politicians from both sides of the aisle praised Ginsburg on Friday night.

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“Throughout her life, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tireless and unapologetic champion for women, families, and our most vulnerable communities. While she was 5′1” in stature, she stood as a giant for justice and equality," Representative Ayanna Pressley said in a statement Friday.

Senator Mitt Romney paid tribute to Ginsburg’s “deep reverence for the law and our constitution" in a statement.

“Her fight for women’s equality inspired all women to pursue their dreams without limits, and her grit, character and sharp wit mad her an iconic and inspirational jurist beloved by people young and old," he said.

“Profoundly grateful for the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A hero for women and a hero for justice. Rest in Power, #RBG,” Representative Katherine Clark wrote.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg led a remarkable life of consequence. She worked with passion & conviction, inspired many women, offered hope to other cancer survivors. Prayers to her loved ones. May She Rest In Peace,” White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Twitter.

Globe correspondent Shannon Larson contributed to this story.



Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.