The weight of the loss of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at age 87, is being felt across the state.
“Justice Ginsburg was a giant for justice and a force that represented the best of our judicial system and our country. I am personally shaken and devastated,” said U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill.
“Her fierce advocacy for the protection of rights for all people under the law — women, workers, LGBTQ people alike — and her guardianship of the Constitution must not be taken for granted,” Underwood added.
“Her life and work paved a way for women like me to challenge norms and fight for people and causes that make our country stronger.”
The Supreme Court lost its “most valiant champion for justice in our lifetime,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, — who also demanded Ginsburg’s seat on the court remain vacant through the presidential election, recalling how McConnell refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for the court, Merrick Garland, even though Garland was nominated much earlier in the year — in March of 2016.
“Please remember Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s demand that Supreme Court vacancies go unfilled during a presidential election year, which was also Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish,” Durbin said.
McConnell has already released a statement declaring that the Senate would vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee this year.
Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said Ginsburg was one of her role models because she admired her intellect, fearlessness to speak on issues and her tenacity in court.
“She made it clear that it is the right and duty of every woman to be her best, and to expect equity, and to fight for herself and others if she does not get it,” Stratton said. “Ginsburg achieved and dreamed big for herself, and for all women.”
Like Durbin, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he and wife M.K. Pritzker want the country to honor Ginsburg by respecting her dying wish.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was first a trailblazer and then a bulwark for equality, whether you are a woman, gay, a person of color or disabled,” Pritzker said. “Just as importantly, she was a shining role model for girls everywhere — a testament to working hard and fighting for what’s right. Her legacy will endure, but only if we fight as hard as she did to protect it.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said the nation lost “a 5’1” giant” who gave girls and women a voice everywhere.
“Like so, so many other Americans tonight, I am deeply grateful for all that Justice Ginsburg did to ensure equal protection under the law for women across this country and to defend the rights of so many others,” said Duckworth.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle shared their grief on Twitter.
“Devastated by the passing of RBG. She represented the finest among lawyers in our country. A giant in her advocacy for women’s rights, civil rights and respect for the rule of law. We must honor her legacy and all her contributions to American jurisprudence. Rest in power, RBG,” Lightfoot tweeted.
Preckwinkle said the country lost a “beacon of light.”
“There are no words to describe Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s enormous impact on the history of our nation. She has fought for gender equality for decades and in the last several years has battled cancer with the same tenacity,” she said.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said “our nation lost a legal powerhouse.”
“Through her position on our highest court Justice Ginsburg never wavered from her driving force to use one’s power in law to ensure social equity,” Foxx said. “She believed in justice and fairness for every American regardless of their race, gender, country of origin, sexual orientation and religion.”
Foxx continued: “While some might argue the law is not a place for social activism, Ginsburg didn’t listen to this noise, always rising above the critics to bring justice and equality for the American people.”
The Illinois Supreme Court issued a joint statement on the life of Ginsburg saying it lost an “outstanding jurist and icon of jurisprudence.”
“On behalf of the entire Illinois legal community, we send our sympathies and prayers to her family and friends,” a spokesman for the Illinois Supreme Court said. “RBG will live in the hearts and minds of the American people for decades to come.”
Devastated by the passing of RBG. She represented the finest among lawyers in our country. A giant in her advocacy for women’s rights, civil rights and respect for the rule of law. We must honor her legacy and all her contributions to American jurisprudence. Rest in power, RBG.— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) September 18, 2020
There are no words to describe Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s enormous impact on the history of our nation. She has fought for gender equality for decades and in the last several years has battled cancer with the same tenacity.— Toni Preckwinkle (@ToniPreckwinkle) September 19, 2020
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said the “Notorious R.B.G,” as she was recently nicknamed, was a “titan of our legal system” and champion of equality who advocated for women’s reproductive rights.
“She gave voice to the voiceless and ensured that the law served every American, no matter how marginalized,” Quigley said. “One of only four women to serve on the Court in its 231 years, Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer and a cultural and feminist icon. I join every American in mourning her loss.”
U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia echoed holding off appointing a replacement for Ginsburg’s position until after the election.
“Justice Ginsburg’s last wish was to be replaced after the next President is installed; we must honor her wish and ensure that the People’s will is reflected in the upcoming nomination process,” Garcia said. “Our next Supreme Court Justice must strive to uphold Ginsburg’s enduring commitment to equality, opportunity and justice for all.”
The death of Ginsburg will be the ultimate test for the Senate’s integrity, said U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., “as each Senator decides whether to abide by recent precedent that a vacancy on the Court should not be filled before the American people have a chance to make their voices heard in an upcoming presidential election.”