As the news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death broke on Friday, Sept. 18, many politicians have praised the late pioneer of gender rights with tributes. Included in this list is Joe Biden's 2020 running mate, Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris. As Ginsburg's life and legacy are honored by many, Kamala Harris' statement on Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death remarks on the woman who helped change the course of history.
On the evening of Friday, Sept. 18, the Supreme Court announced the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. In the wake of her death, political figures such as Barack Obama, Harris, and Biden have commended her accomplishments. In addition to honoring her legacy, they have expressed the need for a hold on a Supreme Court nomination and appointment, not only to honor her final wishes but also to remain consistent with recent legislative precedent. This consistency argument involves how Ginsburg's death echoes that of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Before the end of Obama's second term, Republicans in the Senate blocked a vote of Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, claiming it was too near the election. Now, it's unclear if they will honor their past decision as Ginsburg's passing comes two months before Election Day.
In a press release, Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff discussed Ginsburg's legacy. "Tonight we mourn, we honor, and we pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family. Tomorrow we fight for her legacy," said Harris. "For all who believe in the power of the law as a force for change, Justice Ginsburg was and will always be a titan. She was a relentless defender of justice in our country and a legal mind for the ages," she continued.
"She also remained, throughout her life, a proud daughter of Brooklyn, with immigrant roots and a fire lit from an early age as a champion for progress and equality," Harris said. "Justice Ginsburg was known to pose the question, ‘What is the difference between a bookkeeper in the Garment District and a Supreme Court justice?' Her answer: 'One generation.'"
Harris, who is the daughter of an Indian-American immigrant and a Jamaican-American immigrant, remarked on Ginsburg's ties to her roots. "She never forgot where she came from, or those who sacrificed to help her grow into the historic icon we all came to revere," she said. "Even as we focus on the life that she led and process tonight’s grief, her legacy and the future of the court to which she dedicated so much can’t disappear from our effort to honor her."
Harris continued, "In some of her final moments with her family, she shared her fervent wish to “not be replaced until a new President is installed.” We will honor that wish. Justice Ginsburg used every ounce of life she was bestowed to urge our nation down a path toward equal justice."
Concluding her statement, Harris expressed condolences for the Ginsburg family. "Doug and I send our heartfelt prayers to Jane and James, and the entire Ginsburg family, particularly on this holy day of Rosh Hashanah. According to Jewish tradition, on Rosh Hashanah we begin a period of reflection," said Harris. "Tonight, we reflect on the legacy of Justice Ginsburg and we honor her belief in creating a fair and just world by recommitting to fight for that justice."
Democratic Presidential nominee Biden also commented on Ginsburg's death on Friday, Sept. 18 in a press release sent to Elite Daily. "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," he wrote. "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."
Biden continued, "It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court." Discussing her place in the Supreme Court, he called Ginsburg 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." Biden also gave her credit for "shap[ing] the basis of our law for future generations."
As he concluded his statement, he echoed the issue of the Supreme Court seat vacancy. "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," said Biden.
"This was the position that the Republican Senate took in 2016, when there were nearly nine months before the election," he recalled. "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."
While it's impossible to know what decision will be made in terms of the Supreme Court, Ginsburg's legacy is clear. The late Justice remains a modern hero for feminists everywhere.