Mourners gathered within hours of hearing about Ginsburg’s passing
As the heartbreaking news spread about the death of woman’s rights champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg, crowds began gathering outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. where she served as a justice for 27 years. Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her home surrounded by family.
Hundreds came together at the courthouse and held a candlelight vigil where they celebrated Ginsburg’s historic life and mourned her death. Many brought flowers and left messages honoring what her life’s work meant to the world. Understanding what her absence on the Supreme Court will mean for our future, many chanted “vote him out” in reference to Trump.
The Supreme Court announced her death via a statement on Friday. “Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today, we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tired and resolute champion of justice.”
Mourners outside the US Supreme Court chant “RBG” on the night of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. pic.twitter.com/3n57xGQ93Y
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 19, 2020
Ginsburg was later appointed Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993, becoming the second woman to sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court in its 212 year history.
People gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court Building Friday night to mourn the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg | 📸: Getty Images pic.twitter.com/Ca0IJSaQtL
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) September 19, 2020
Her death, while not unexpected, feels especially upsetting given the state of our country. We’re dealing with massive fires in the west, a pandemic that’s killed almost 200,000 people in the U.S. alone and crippled our economy, a school year unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and an election coming up that feels as if our entire democracy is resting on (because it is). It’s too much.
A crowd has gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court to mourn Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They are signing “Imagine” in unison. pic.twitter.com/ih4Pmy62uo
— Dr. Lucky Tran 😷 (@luckytran) September 19, 2020
Before her death, Ginsburg made it clear that she does not want our current president deciding who will replace her on the Supreme Court. Her granddaughter, Clara Spera, said in a statement to NPR that her grandmother stated, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
A friend just texted this pic of the steps of the Supreme Court, where mourners are saying kaddish for #rbg pic.twitter.com/aMrG48GkJB
— Sarah Labowitz (@SarahLabo) September 19, 2020
Mourners occasionally clapped and sang “Amazing Grace,” “America the Beautiful,” and “Imagine,” but for the most part there was silence and a lot of tears.
Mourners join in a rendition of “Imagine” by John Lennon as they honor the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg RIP
Crowd gathers in front of the Supreme Court #RBGForever #RBG
— La femme merveilleuse invisible (@larwoolf) September 19, 2020
“I think she just did a lot for this country and it’s really important that people recognize that and show support and also be clear and have a visual representation we’re not going anywhere,” Nairika Murphy told NPR of her presence at the Supreme Court last night. “Regardless of who’s placed in her spot and who’s elected, that we’re not going to move backward to the 1950s. I think that this country is in a really dangerous place, and I think the fact that we’re still questioning climate science, and women’s reproductive rights, it’s unbelievable to me.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also announced today that New York State will honor the life and legacy of RBG with a statue in Brooklyn, her birthplace.
NEWS: proud to announce NYS will honor the life & legacy of RGB with a statue in Brooklyn, her birthplace pic.twitter.com/JhrPpcbk0X
— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) September 19, 2020
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg selflessly pursued truth and justice in a world of division, giving voice to the voiceless and uplifting those who were pushed aside by forces of hate and indifference,” Cuomo said in a statement. “She was a monumental figure of equality, and we can all agree that she deserves a monument in her honor.”