The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday night sent shockwaves through the Garden State as top officials remembered her impact on women’s rights, and the years she spent in New Jersey before her career in Washington, D.C.
Ginsburg died at 87 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer just three months after she announced she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.
Gov. Phil Murphy called Ginsburg’s career “an inspiration to countless young women and girls across our nation, and around the globe.”
“Justice Ginsburg dedicated her life and career not only to the premise of equal justice and equity under the law, but also to the most basic premise that, regardless of gender, or race, or religion, or orientation, or identity, or nationality and ethnic heritage, we all must commit to fight for the things that we care about,” Murphy said.
Decades ago, Ginsburg was a pioneering professor at Rutgers-Newark School of Law, and in her final years at the university, she served as the advisor to the Women’s Rights Law Review.
“Rutgers students sparked my interest and aided in charting the course I then pursued,” Ginsburg said in Our Revolutionary Spirit, a short film on Rutgers’ 250th anniversary. “Less than three years after starting the seminar, I was arguing gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court.”
Ginsburg worked at the university from 1963 to 1972.
The governor said that he had the “distinct honor” of presenting Ginsburg with the The Golden Pea, a German center award honoring heroes, on behalf of MARCHENLAND Berlin.
“Tammy and I, and our daughter, Emma, will never forget the time she spent with us,” Murphy aded. “She was an American icon.”
Cory Booker, New Jersey’s first Black U.S. senator, also mourned Ginsburg.
“Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer and an extraordinary jurist who devoted her life to advancing the causes of equality and justice,” Booker said on Twitter. “We are in her debt.”
Sen. Robert Menendez released a statement calling her passing an, “incredible and irreplaceable loss.”
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her entire life breaking down gender barriers with unstoppable tenacity, intellectual might, and an unshakeable commitment to justice. She was one of only nine women in her law school class, and while she graduated at the top, firms wouldn’t hire her because she was a woman,” Menendez said in his statement. “It was as a professor at New Jersey’s own Rutgers Law School where Ginsburg began her life’s work fighting the same gender discrimination she herself faced.”
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called her a “trailblazing jurist and crusader for women’s rights.”
“Justice Ginsburg’s unflagging pursuit of justice, her incisive opinions and dissents, and her principled progressivism have inspired, and will continue to inspire, all of us who cherish our society as a nation based on the rule of law,” Grewal said.
New Jersey Education Association’s officers, President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty also issued a statement on the her passing.
“We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and loved ones of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg,” the statement read. “She was a giant of American history, a trailblazer who made our nation more fair and just for all people. She upheld the highest principles of our Constitution and helped America move closer to its founding ideals. Her passing is an immeasurable loss to the United States Supreme Court and the United States of America. We join the entire nation in honoring her legacy and mourning her death.”
This article contains material from the Associated Press.
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Chris Sheldon may be reached at [email protected].