Remembering Ginsburg’s ‘Transformational Impact’

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President Bill Clinton with Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the announcement of her nomination to the Supreme Court in June 1993. (National Archives and Records Administration)

Following are statements from AAPI community leaders and organizations on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant. There are literally not enough words to describe the transformational impact she had on the lives of millions of Americans as an advocate and a jurist.

“I have a very simple message for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell tonight. The best and only way to honor the life’s work of Justice Ginsburg, a giant of a jurist, is to honor her fervent final wish that she not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “There are no words to adequately express just how devastated and heartbroken I am to learn of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Not only did our nation lose a brilliant jurist, we lost a hero — a 5’1” giant who gave a voice to girls and women everywhere and moved the needle forward in our long fight toward justice and equality for all.

“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. She will be sorely missed, but her unparalleled legacy and impact will never be forgotten.

“Tonight we are devastated, but tomorrow we will roll up our sleeves and keep working. We must honor her legacy by redoubling our efforts to safeguard the rights of women, the rights of Americans with disabilities and the rights of all Americans for future generations. We cannot let up now.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “Tonight we mourn, we honor, and we pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family. But we also recommit to fight for her legacy. For all who believe in the power of the law as a force for change, Justice Ginsburg will always be a titan …

“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.’ She never forgot where she came from, or those who sacrificed to to help her grow into the historic icon we all came to revere.

“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.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus: “I’m heartbroken at the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What she did for all Americans, and particularly women, can never be overstated. She was a giant who will be missed more than words can say. Her legacy will be felt for generations. May her memory be a blessing.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance): “Ruth Bader Ginsberg represented the best of America. With patriotism and passion, she never shied away from taking on the challenge of making our country a more just and equal place. As a civil rights icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg carved out a new path for women in our country — demonstrating that everyone is entitled to justice and opportunity under the law. She was a legal pioneer that our country needed and she will be desperately missed.

“This is a devastating loss for our country but her memory, and her legacy, are a blessing.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020)

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an icon.

“A trailblazer.

“A champion.

“An American hero.

“It’s our duty to carry on her legacy and continue the relentless pursuit of justice that she so fearlessly dedicated her life to. My thoughts are with her family during this difficult time.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “America has lost a titan of justice and a champion for the voiceless. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tireless warrior for equality and a north star for those seeking a more just democracy. Justice Ginsburg was not only a brilliant jurist and legal mind, but an unparalleled role model for women and girls across our nation.

“While we mourn this tremendous loss, we must stand ready to pursue the path Justice Ginsburg showed us – holding ourselves accountable and making sure no one is above the law. My prayers are with her family and loved ones. I stand ready to fight to ensure her legacy lives on.”

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma: “Notorious RBG: ‘I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.’ RIP.”

California State Controller Betty Yee:”No! A profound loss for our nation. Rest in power, RBG.”

Hawaii Gov. David Ige: “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant in advocating for justice and equity. Justice Ginsburg visited Hawaiʻi several times, and it was clear that her values were closely aligned with those of our community. Dawn and I celebrate her work and life and mourn her loss.

“As a mark of respect for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I have ordered that the flags of the United States and State of Hawai‘i shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies, as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard, immediately until the date of Ginsburg’s interment.”

Former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “It was an honor to be a panelist at the UH law school, discussing RBG. I began with what she said on the CNN special: ‘I ask for no favor of my sex … All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.’ She brought an end to legal discrimination by the cases she argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no one like her.”

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance): “Mourning the loss of one of my heroes, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As a lawyer, I could relate to the stories of her working countless long hours crafting and honing her legal briefs to fight for women’s rights. She was a warrior, dedicating her life’s work to the law as a sword in the fight for social justice.

“And when I watched the great documentary ‘RBG’ with my then 10-year-old daughter, and she said she wanted to grow up to be a civil rights lawyer, I was a proud daddy.

“Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg. Thank you for changing the world for the better.”

Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), chair, API Legislative Caucus: “Years ago, I worked on Justice Ginsburg’s confirmation hearing, and realized how special she would be. Her contributions to our country are immeasurable. We are immensely diminished. Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg.”

George Takei, actor and activist: “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my heart is broken. We did not deserve you.“

Japanese American Citizens League: “The loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is immeasurable. Her life was one of perseverance, meaningful dissent, and the embodiment of the idea that the arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.

“As the target of intense gender discrimination from the start of her career, she devoted herself to eliminating the very barriers she had faced through the power of the courts. As a litigator, she not only broke down the laws that separated men and women but also broke down the stereotyped roles opening up the potential for both men and women to be and become whatever they desired, not what society forced upon them.

“Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993, and within just a few years wrote the majority decision striking down the male-only admissions policy of the Virginia Military Institute. Over the course of her 27 years on the court, she would author numerous majority decisions and minority dissents that would give voice to many who thought they had no voice in our judicial system and also in defiance to the action or inaction of the other co-equal branches of government.

“Though we have progressed from the days when a recently graduated female law student was unable to find a job practicing law, there remains much to be done to truly achieve the sex and gender equality that Justice Ginsburg championed through her career and lived out in her own life. We can honor her legacy by ensuring that her successor in the court is just as committed to promoting continued progress towards equality and justice for all.

“We send our condolences to Justice Ginsburg’s family and all Americans feeling the pain of her loss.”

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles: “We mourn the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The world lost a fierce hero who fought passionately for women’s rights throughout her education and her career.

“We send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. We vow to continue to fight for justice and to carry on Justice Ginsburg’s legacy of bravery and resilience. She will continue to live in our hearts and in every step forward we take towards a better future.”

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association: “Justice Ginsburg was a brilliant legal mind and a steadfast champion for equal rights throughout her career,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, president of NAPABA. “The second woman to serve on the court, Justice Ginsburg paved the way for the women of our generation. Despite graduating first in her class at Columbia Law School, she struggled to find employment. Her confirmation and tenure on the Supreme Court serve as an enduring inspiration and a reminder of the challenges that women face in society and the workplace.

“I am eternally grateful for her service to our nation. She fought to the very end, and we will honor her memory in doing the same — in our tireless pursuit for justice, equity, and opportunity for all.”

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