New England

‘A Fearless Trailblazer': New England Politicians Remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg, who died Friday of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, is being remembered by local politicians as an American icon who made the country better in her pursuit of justice for all.

NBC Universal, Inc.

As news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death swept across the nation Friday night, New England politicians were quick to react on social media, calling the Supreme Court Justice a "hero," a "legal giant" and "fearless trailblazer."

Ginsburg, who died Friday at her home in Washington of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, is being remembered by local politicians as an American icon who made the country better in her tireless pursuit of justice for all.

Here's a look at what leaders across the region are saying:


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh noted Ginsburg was "many things to the American people," calling her a "brilliant jurist. A fearless trailblazer. A tireless champion of justice and equality who exemplified grace and strength."

"She made this country a better place for all," Walsh said on Twitter. "May she rest in eternal peace. God bless RBG."

Gov. Charlie Baker said he was very sorry to hear of Ginsburg's death, calling her "a force of nature and a role model for so many women and all Americans." 

Baker also said Ginsburg's friendship with the late Antonin Scalia "spoke volumes about her ability to separate the person from the politics."

"Her incredible career and life’s work bettered our nation and serve as an inspiration to us all," Baker wrote on Twitter. "Rest in peace, you will be missed."

Democratic Congressman Richard Neal echoed Walsh and Baker's thoughts, calling Ginsburg "a true trailblazer."

"Our country will forever be indebted to her and the inroads she made for every woman, young girl, and person in our great nation," Neal shared on Twitter.

Rep. Katherine Clark called Ginsburg a "hero for women and a hero for justice," saying she felt profoundly grateful for the 87-year-old's life and legacy.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III agreed, writing, "she gave everything she had to the cause of justice for all."

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the strongest forces this country has known," he said. "Grateful to the family and friends who shared her with us for a lifetime," he said. "Keeping them -- and this country -- in our prayers tonight."

Sen. Ed Markey called Ginsburg a pioneer in the fight for equal rights and a role model to young women across the country.

"She was brilliant and an advocate for freedom of speech, reproductive rights, & civil rights. She was the embodiment of true justice & what every jurist strives to become," he wrote on Twitter. "My thoughts now turn to her family & loved ones during this difficult time."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who referred to Ginsburg as "Ruthie," said she will miss her friend terribly.

"The t-shirts simply labeled “RBG” made her notorious. But it was her wit, her tenaciousness, and her skill as a jurist that made her an icon," Warren said of the justice's nickname.

"As a young mom heading off to Rutgers law school, I saw so few examples of female lawyers or law professors. But Ruthie blazed the trail. I’m forever grateful for her example — to me, and to millions of young women who saw her as a role model," Warren said on Twitter.

"Later, Ruthie’s groundbreaking work as a legal advocate for women led to a distinguished career as a federal judge and a Supreme Court Justice" she added. "Her lifelong dedication to fighting for justice for everyone, and her love for our nation, will be sorely missed."

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley called Ginsburg "a tireless and unapologetic champion for women, families, and our most vulnerable communities" throughout her life."

"While she was 5’1” in stature, she stood as a giant for justice and equality," Pressley said. "From her groundbreaking work to end legal discrimination on the basis of sex, to her trailblazing 27-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg played a central role in advancing critical ideals including pay equity, reproductive freedom, and LGBTQ+ rights. She was deliberate in her craft, and we are all better off because of her unwavering commitment to creating a more just world."

Congressman Bill Keating also referenced Ginsburg's short stature, saying, "This diminutive woman in height was truly a giant, a justice for the ages."

Keating said he was profoundly saddened by her death and noted how she bridged the gaps.

"She bridged the gap between young and old. She bridged the gap within the Court from discord to civility. For equality for women, equality for LGBTQ Americans, equality for us all - Justice Ginsburg set a standard for fairness and equal rights under the law," he said on Twitter.

Congressman Seth Moulton called RBG's death a profound loss for America, saying few people have been as impactful in advancing and protecting the rights of their fellow citizens.

"She never stopped fighting to better our nation, and in this dark era we should look to her legacy for hope," he wrote on Twitter.

Massachusetts House Speaker Bob DeLeo called Justice Ginsburg a visionary and legal leader whose influence on our country transcended the judiciary.

"As a litigator, she pioneered legal principles on human rights and gender equality that are part of the fabric of American society today. As a jurist, she worked to reinforce and protect those rights. Her passing represents a colossal loss for the United States Supreme Court and our country," he said in a tweet.

Congressman James McGovern, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, said he and his wife Lisa are "heartbroken."

"Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer through and through. Her tenacity and intellect were unmatched. A true champion for women’s rights and equal justice," he wrote on Twitter. "This is a colossal loss for our country. May her memory guide us through the difficult days ahead."

Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka said she shares in the grief felt by those across the country following the "tragic loss" of Ginsburg.

"A mighty force for justice and equality, Ginsburg’s fighting spirit was an inspiration to me, as well as generations of women and girls everywhere," Spilka said in a statement. "She taught us to stand tall, raise our voices, and never to give up. Her legacy now lives on in all of us.” 

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins released a statement Friday night in which she called Ginsburg "one of the most influential people of our lifetime."

"She drove the legal battle against gender-based discrimination and helped move our nation significantly forward. She has been called a liberal icon, but every American, regardless of their political beliefs, has Justice Ginsburg to thank for pushing our nation closer to fulfilling the promises our Constitution holds." 

Rollins, a cancer survivor, said Ginsburg "was a groundbreaker who embodied the same courage in her private life as she did on the bench."

The DA also shared that she has found great hope and strength in Justice Ginsburg's multiple recoveries from cancers that threatened her throughout her time on the Supreme Court."

"Her strength was undeniable, her bravery and influence unmatched," Rollins said.

"I’m deeply grateful to Justice Ginsburg for her dedication to creating a more equal society. She represented the very best of what it means to serve. Her profound understanding of the law, her passion for this vital work, and her determination to achieve our nation’s unmet promises will impact us all for generations," Rollins added. "We have lost a national hero. Now the fight becomes even more urgent for those of us that remain. May her memory be a revolution."

Rep. Lori Trahan called RBG an "institution," saying her decisions on the Supreme Court "changed our nation for the better & have impacted each of us."

"She lived her life in service to the American people – never settling for anything less than full equality, freedom & justice under the law," she wrote on Twitter. "Justice Ginsburg will be sorely missed by her loved ones, her colleagues, and her fellow Americans. Rest in eternal power, RBG."

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey summed everything up, saying in a statement of her own, "What is there to say that hasn’t been already said about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? This loss is devastating not just because a brilliant trailblazing woman is gone, but because of everything she represents. For so many Americans, she was their freedom personified.

AG Healey noted that Justice Ginsburg once said, "one lives not just for oneself, but for one’s community."

"And that’s how she lived her own life, dedicating much of her career to women’s rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, and justice under the law," Healey said of RBG. "We all owe this legal giant a debt of gratitude. May her memory be a blessing. Tomorrow we fight in her honor.”


Senator Richard Blumenthal shared similar sentiments, calling Ginsburg "a giant."

"The world is a different place because of her," he wrote on Twitter. "More than the laws she forged are the lives she touched. She will always be an American icon—breaking barriers w/courage & conviction, & letting nothing stop her from the classroom to the courtroom."

Senator Chris Murphy said Ginsburg "changed her nation for the better."

"Fairness and justice, especially for those with the least access to power, were her north stars," he wrote on Twitter. "She was a pioneer for women in the law, and a cultural icon on top of it all. May she rest in peace."

Gov. Ned Lamont said the nation is mourning "the unimaginable loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – a fierce & fiery champion for fairness & equality."

The Connecticut governor pointed out that RBG "overcame adversity both in and out of the courtroom, battling gender discrimination at a time when women were rarely serving as lawyers."

He also noted that Ginsburg "fought cancer with rigor, rarely missing any days in court."

"A giant inspiration and pioneer for women globally, Justice Ginsburg should not just be remembered for what she stood for but what she stood against,' Lamont said on Twitter. "Our nation is greater for her tenacity, dissension, and adversity against injustice."

"As Justice Ginsburg put it best, ‘there will be enough women on the court when there are nine,’ he shared.

Rep. Joe Courtney shared a similar sentiment, saying Ginsburg’s life was about shattering barriers for women, and all Americans who experience discrimination.

"She had an exquisite legal mind, and clarity of thought and word that she used powerfully to change this country for the better," he wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Jahana Hayes said she was saddened by her death, calling Ginsburg a champion for women and a resolute justice who flourished in the face of adversity.

"I respected her ambition, dedication and intellect. She forced everyone to see beyond stereotypes and live out their full potential," Hayes said in a tweet. "This is a profound loss for the nation, as we say goodbye to a leader and defender of the Constitution."

Rep. John Larson said Justice Ginsburg paved the way for millions of women and Americans who have faced discrimination and inequality.

"She never stopped fighting for equal rights for all," he said on Twitter. "She will be remembered for her unparalleled courage, determination, and legal mind. She changed our nation for the better."

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro shared a statement on Twitter in which she said "the world lost a force of nature, a firebrand."

DeLauro said she was devastated by Ginsburg's death and that our country will never be the same.

"Our world has lost a giant," she said.

"Justice Ginsburg changed what it meant to be a woman in America. Long before she donned judicial robes, she knew every woman deserved a seat at every table and fought for equality with the weight of the world on her shoulders," DeLauro said.

The Connecticut representative took the time to reflect on what the world at large, and her own world, may have looked like without RBG.

"In this dark time, I reflect on what our world would have looked like had Ruth Bader Ginsburg backed down from a fight. I wonder what women’s health care would look like and which freedoms would be missing. I wonder what universities would be accepting women and whether I would find a door with my name on it in the halls of congress," she said.

"Let us take this moment now to honor the brilliant, formidable woman that gave her entire life to the fight for equality," DeLauro wrote. "The road ahead seems dark, clouded by the unknown, but may we move forward with the tenacious commitment to justice exemplified by the life and legacy of the Notorious RBG."

Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo ordered that all Rhode Island flags at state facilities and buildings be flown at half-staff in memory of Ginsburg. The flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of her internment, a statement read.

"Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent a lifetime applying her brilliant legal mind to the crucial work of making the United States a more just and equitable nation," Raimondo said in a statement. "She was an inspiration to women around the world. My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones, and the millions of Americans mourning her passing."

"It's on all of us to carry forward her commitment to the founding ideals of our nation," she said.

Raimondo also asked Rhode Islanders to lower their flags as a mark of respect.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked his followers on Twitter to focus on what a remarkable woman Ginsburg was.

"For one night, let us just focus on the career of this remarkable woman; her courage, her grace, her tenacity, her dignity, and her contribution to the law," he said. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg represented the best in our country."

Whitehouse also shared photos on Twitter, showing people gathering Friday night at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. to mourn the Notorious RBG.

Sen. Jack Reed called Ginsburg an inspiration to us all, calling her courageous, compassionate.

"Justice Ginsburg was an American original and a legal pioneer. Every single American is a beneficiary of the legal victories she fought for an won," he said on Twitter. "America has lost a true patriot and heroine and the Court has lost an extraordinary principled jurist."

Congressman Jim Langevin called Ginsburg a "fearless trailblazer & a fierce champion of equality who inspired millions through her intellect, grace, & passion."

"Notorious for her devotion to creating a more just world, she opened doors & shattered ceilings throughout her storied career," he said in a statement shared on Twitter. 

Langevin said Ginsburg's death "marks a truly solemn day for our nation as we reflect on the loss of a legal giant whose tireless work in the highest court in the land made our society better for all. To honor her legacy, we must commit ourselves to preserving the democracy and the freedoms she devoted her life to protecting."

"Justice Ginsburg once said: '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,'" Langevin recalled. "Without doubt, she will be remembered – for her courage, for her integrity, and for her work standing up for those whom society had cast to the margins. Rest in peace to an American hero who has forever left her mark on the soul and heart of our nation."

New Hampshire

Gov. Chris Sununu shared his condolences in a tweet writing, "Valerie and I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the entire family of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. May her memory be a blessing to all who knew and loved her."

Of Ginsburg's passing, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said, "America has lost its greatest champion of women’s rights in a generation."

"Her legacy will live on through the many freedoms that women enjoy throughout our society," the New Hampshire senator said in a statement shared on Twitter. "She will forever be known for her profound strength, unparalleled intellect and uncompromising values. Throughout her time on the Court, she fought tirelessly for equality for all races, creeds and gender identities."

"America is a better nation because of her service," Shaheen said.

Rep. Annie Kuster recognized Ginsburg as "a trailblazer, a champion of gender equality, and a revered jurist."

"Only the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, she empowered us to recognize what we are capable of with her courage and grace," Kuster shared on Twitter. "I will forever be grateful for Justice Ginsburg's life, her legacy, and the path that she paved. She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy that is larger than life. As we mourn this enormous loss, my thoughts are with her loved ones, colleagues, and friends."

Sen. Maggie Hassan also acknowledged how Ginsburg was a trailblazer and a champion for women’s equality.

"Our country is stronger and more just because of her life’s work," she said on Twitter. "I join all Americans in mourning the loss of this giant who helped move our country toward a more perfect union. May she rest in peace."


Gov. Janet Mills shared a statement on Twitter, saying, "I had the privilege of meeting Justice Ginsburg when I was Attorney General of Maine, and I had the pleasure of watching people argue before her in the gallery of the highest court in the land."

Gov. Mills is remembering Ginsburg as a "gracious, tenacious person with great intellect who was devoted to the integrity of the Court and to the rule of law as it applies to every person in our country.

"She was one of greatest Americans ever," Mills said. "On behalf of the people of Maine, I express our deepest gratitude for her service to our nation and out heartfelt condolences to her family during this difficult time.”

Maine Sen. Angus King echoed sentiments from Conn. Sen. Blumenthal and Boston's mayor, calling RBG "a giant" and "a brilliant jurist."

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant. A brilliant jurist, who spent her life making our country a fairer, more equitable place for all its citizens," King said on Twitter. "Her loss leaves a grateful nation in mourning; Mary and I are keeping her family and loved ones in our prayers."

Senator Susan Collins released a statement in which she called RBG "a trailblazer for women’s rights, a fierce champion for equality, and an extremely accomplished American who broke countless barriers in the field of law."

Sen. Collins recounted how Justice Ginsburg "surmounted discrimination and sexism through her brilliance, tenacity, and wit, becoming one of the most prominent legal luminaries of our time."

Collins, who said she had the great honor of getting to know RBG personally, said Ginsburg "has been a role model to generations of women, and her legacy will live on in the countless people she inspired.” 

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said she joins the nation in mourning the loss of "a towering pioneer and progressive icon."

"For nearly 30 years, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served as a counterpoint on a Supreme Court long dominated by conservative jurists," she wrote on Twitter. "Justice Ginsburg was always a reliable voice for the downtrodden and disenfranchised and that’s why her passing feels so devastating to so many Americans. She held the trust of countless women who admired her unwavering defense of reproductive rights and gender equity."


Sen. Bernie Sanders called Ginsburg's death "a tremendous loss to our country."

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the great justices in modern American history," he said on Twitter. "She will be remembered as an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights."

Sen. Patrick Leahy said Ginsburg was "a daring pioneer, brilliant legal mind & moral beacon throughout the course" of her entire career.

The world is forever indebted to her selfless service, commitment to the greater good and rule of law," Leahy said on Twitter.

The Vermont senator also said she was brilliant and a legend of the law.

"She has become a heroine and even an icon to millions of Americans," he said, before making a more personal remark.

"She was also unmistakably kind and funny, and a fundamentally decent human being," Leahy shared.

He said he is thankful for every say RBG spent here with us, "serving the American people with unparalleled grace, integrity and an unyielding sense of equality and justice."

Congressman Peter Welch called Friday a devastating night for our country.

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have been small in stature, but she was a titan of jurisprudence," he said on Twitter. "A pioneer from the earliest days of her career, she won a landmark case for women’s rights in 1971, before being appointed to the highest court in the land in 1993. She served with distinction, never letting her colleagues forget the huge impacts that the law has on the most vulnerable among us"

Welch said he joins all Vermonters in expressing gratitude for Ginsburg's service and heartfelt condolences to her family. 

Gov. Phil Scott was among those Vermonters saddened to learn of Ginsburg's death. He said he was sending his heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

"History will remember, and our children should learn about, Justice Ginsburg," he said. "She was a tireless advocate for justice and equality, and an example for future generations."

The Vermont governor said there is no doubt she will be missed on the court, and in our national dialogue.

He also shared what her death means for the status of the Supreme Court, acknowledging that her death "will leave many Americans concerned about the appointment of her successor."

Like Scott, several other New England politicians also made mention of the vacancy Ginsburg's death leaves on the court, with just over six weeks until Election Day.

There is already a heated debate brewing as to whether or not her replacement should be nominated now, or if her seat should remain vacant until the outcome of the presidential race. Just over an hour after Ginsburg's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to bring to a vote whoever President Donald Trump nominates.

But a number of local politicians, including Sen. King and Sanders, both who specifically called out Sen. McConnell, are adamant that the vacancy remain until after the election.

"With less than fifty days until the upcoming election – and with an anxious, divided America watching – Senator McConnell should honor the life and legacy of this icon by respecting her final wish that a successor should not be considered until the election has been decided," the Maine senator said on Twitter.

Sen. Sanders said Sen. McConnell is "cementing a shameful legacy of brazen hypocrisy" by going against Justice Ginsburg's dying wishes.

"The right thing to do here is clear, and Senate Republicans know it," Sanders said. "We should let voters decide. Period."

Sen. Blumenthal agreed, writing on Twitter that he believes the vacancy should not be filled "until we have a new president."

"This close to the election, there is no way that the United States Senate can or should act before the voters decide," he wrote.

Congressman Welch said as the senate carefully considers a replacement, "it is clear they they must adhere to the ‘McConnel Standard,’ and wait until the new year to make their decision."

"We are at the doorstep of one of the most important elections of our lifetime," Welch said. "In his own words, Senator McConnell has made clear that he is content 'to let the American people decide. The senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be," he said.

"There can be no vote in the senate until the American people have voted to decide who will nominate and confirm the next supreme court justice," Welch wrote to end his tweet.

Sen. Warren also said Ginsburg's replacement shouldn't be named until after the election in November, citing RBG's "most fervent wish."

Ginsburg told her granddaughter, Clara Spera, in the days before her death that her wish was not to have her seat filled until a new president is elected, NPR reported.

"We must honor her wish," Warren said on Twitter of Ginsburg's final request.

Rep. Pressley, who shared Ginsburg's final wish on Twitter, also agreed with Warren, writing, "As we mourn the tremendous loss of her passing, one thing is clear: we must honor Justice Ginsburg’s last wish and ensure that no replacement is appointed until a new president is installed in January."

"Any attempt by the GOP to push through a rushed appointment process when we are weeks away from a Presidential election would be a calloused affront to her notorious legacy," Pressley said. "To honor Justice Ginsburg and protect our democracy, we will turn our collective grief into action."

Sen. Leahy acknowledged there are difficult days ahead.

"Senators McConnell and Graham must not treat this President’s Supreme Court nominees differently than President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees," the Vermont senator wrote on Twitter. "They must exhibit a shred of integrity and recognize that by abandoning their word now, and breaking all precedents by ramming a nominee through – most likely after the election – would cause the nation tremendous pain.”

Rep. McGovern had a message for McConnell, writing directly at him on Twitter, saying maybe he had forgotten what he said following Scalia's death in February 2016, but the American people won't.

"We mourn RBG. Then we prepare to fight like never before," he told his followers. "Hypocrite McConnell is already preparing to break his own rule and jam down our throat an anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-worker nominee. Senate Democrats: Do. Not. Back. Down. We will have your back. Protest! Fight!"

Gov. Scott also acknowledged that while it is important to take the time to mourn Ginsburg's death, "we must also follow precedent, as well as her dying wishes, and delay the appointment process until after Inauguration Day."

Congressman Moulton also referenced Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish, saying "Senator McConnell should follow the precedent he set when he denied the appointment of Merrick Garland and refrain from confirming a new justice until after the election."

Congresswoman Pingree said with less than two months until the election, the Senate should not confirm anyone for the vacant seat "until the voters have spoken."

"Senate Republicans refused to consider Pres. Obama’s nominee for SCOTUS at the end of his presidency & Pres. Trump should be given the exact same treatment," Pingree said on Twitter.

Should Republicans choose to go forward with a nomination, reversing the precedent they set four years ago, the Senate would be changed forever, Sen. Murphy alleged.

In 2016, the Republican-led Senate refused to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the vacancy created when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February of that year. 

"If Republicans go forward and reverse the precedent they set in 2016, the Senate will never, ever be the same. It will be changed forever," Murphy wrote on Twitter. "I pray tonight that at least a few of my Republican colleagues understand this."

Sen. Markey said McConnell set the precedent of no Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year.

"If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court," Markey wrote on Twitter.

Contact Us