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'A pioneer and an inspiration to many': Local leaders react to death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 after a battle with cancer.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87 after a battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, was the oldest sitting member on the Supreme Court. Over her lengthy career, she hadn't missed arguments until January 2019.

Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. She would go on to be the first female member of the Harvard Law Review, and the second woman to sit on the Supreme Court. She also co-founded the Women Rights Project for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Local leaders, both inside and outside the realm of politics, reacted to news of her death on Friday, reflecting on her legacy and long-lasting impact on the nation's highest court.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

"We have lost one of the greatest American patriots to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves an enormous legacy behind of upholding women’s access to health care, voting rights and equality under the law for the LGBTQ community. 

Our heartbreak at the loss of Justice Ginsburg will become a tragedy for the ages if the U.S. Senate confirms a new justice before we know who our next president is.  It would be the height of hypocrisy for Mitch McConnell to allow it. 

But we cannot rely on McConnell to have the integrity nor the courage to protect our democracy from Trump’s worst impulses. Are there enough Republicans in the Senate who still care about justice to block another Trump appointment? The voice of the American people will be heard." 

Idaho Governor Brad Little

"Teresa and I send our sympathy to the family of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In addition to her historic role on the Supreme Court, as an attorney, she advanced women’s rights by successfully partnering with Boise attorney Allen Derr in an Idaho case before the U.S. Supreme Court which overturned laws which discriminated on the basis of sex."

Washington Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib

"Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an inspiration, a powerhouse, and a true public servant. Her lifelong dedication to advancing social justice will be her enduring legacy — one we must continue in her absence.  RIP, Justice Ginsburg."

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson

"We lost an American hero today."

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers

"Rest In Peace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a pioneer and inspiration to many, especially generations of trailblazers and working moms. My deepest and sincerest condolences are with her family and friends, including her fellow Justices on the Supreme Court of the United States."

Washington Senator Patty Murray

"Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first Justice I voted for. Tonight, my heart is breaking for a million reasons—for her family, for our country, for my North Star. 

I’ll remember her as a friend, a role model, and a woman who opened doors for all the rest of us with her genius and her relentless pursuit of justice, freedom, and equality for each and every one of us, no matter who we are. 

That fight for justice, which she led so passionately for so long, is now ours to take up in her memory. Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave her all to us, and I will give mine to making sure the American people have their next President before her seat is filled."

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell

"Justice Ginsburg was a giant—our longest-serving female Supreme Court Justice. She will be remembered as a fierce warrior against gender discrimination. Every woman who has ever had to advocate for the law owes her a great debt of gratitude. 

We have lost a real hero. Justice Ginsburg stood by the most vulnerable in her decisions, from ending single sex admission policies and protecting rights for those with mental disabilities, to her dissents standing up for voting rights and paving the way for Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which strengthens protections against pay discrimination.  

My thoughts are with her family, friends, and everyone in our country who looked up to her for inspiration and comfort."

Washington State 3rd Legislative District Representative Marcus Riccelli

"Rest in Power."

Washington 4th Congressional District Representative Dan Newhouse

"I am saddened to hear about the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. My prayers go out to her family, and may she Rest In Peace. Her legacy of advancing gender equality will not be forgotten."

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo

“Justice Ginsburg was a stalwart leader on the issues and causes important to her. While I did not agree with some of her opinions on matters of legal doctrine, I respect her courage to hold steadfast to her beliefs. Prior to her service on the Supreme Court, her work with Idaho-based attorney Allen Derr helped overturn laws allowing discrimination on the basis of sex. She fought a hard fight against cancer, and her legacy will continue for many more generations. At this time of grief and sadness, I offer my condolences and deepest sympathies to her family, friends and loved ones.”

Spokane Native and NASA Astronaut Anne McClain

"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” Rest in Power, #RBG.

Without RBG, my entire career could never have happened. Her impact on society, and on me personally, cannot be overstated."