‘I loved her to pieces,’ retired Justice Souter says of RBG
WASHINGTON (AP) — The remaining eight Supreme Court justices, and two former colleagues, are speaking out about their colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at age 87.
Some, like Clarence Thomas, and Stephen Breyer, served with her for nearly all of her 27 years on the high court, and wrote emotional statements following news of her death. The justices all spoke of her undying devotion to the law and her grace as a colleague.
Excerpts from their statements, as released Saturday by the court:
Chief Justice John Roberts:
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. 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 tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Justice Clarence Thomas:
Thomas wrote he was heartbroken to learn of her passing. “Through the many challenges both professionally and personally, she was the essence of grace, civility and dignity. She was a superb judge who gave her best and exacted the best from each of us, whether in agreement or disagreement. And, as outstanding as she was as a judge, she was an even better colleague – unfailingly gracious, thoughtful, and civil.”
He said the quality and pace of her work never suffered as she was ill, nor did her demeanor toward her colleagues.
“The most difficult part of a long tenure is watching colleagues decline and pass away. And, the passing of my dear colleague, Ruth, is profoundly difficult and so very sad,” he wrote. “I will dearly miss my friend.”
Justice Stephen Breyer:
Breyer wrote that he heard of her death while he was reciting the “Mourner’s Kaddish” at the Rosh Hashanah service.
a great Justice;
a woman of valour;
a rock of righteousness;
and my good, good friend.
The world is a better place for her having lived in it.”
Justice Samuel Alito:
Alito wrote that he and his wife were deeply saddened.
“Ruth and Marty made us feel at home immediately when I joined the Court, and we will certainly miss her. Justice Ginsburg will go down as a leading figure in the history of the Court. She will be remembered for her intelligence, learning, and remarkable fortitude. She has been and will continue to be an inspiration for many. “
Justice Sonia Sotomayor:
Sotomayor called her a dear friend and colleague, and “an American hero” who spent her life “fighting for the equality of all people, and she was a pathbreaking champion of women’s rights.”
“I will miss Ruth greatly,” Sotomayor wrote. “She welcomed me to the Court with a warmth I could not have expected, and I came to feel a special kinship with her. She was someone whose wisdom, kindness, and unwavering support I could always rely on. I will forever cherish the moments we shared.”
Justice Elena Kagan:
Kagan echoed Sotomayor’s comments that Ginsburg was a hero and tireless fighter for equal rights.
“Ruth reached out to encourage and assist me in my career, as she did for so many others, long before I came to the Supreme Court,” Kagan said. “And she guided and inspired me, on matters large and small, once I became her colleague. I will miss her — her intellect, her generosity, her sly wit, her manifest integrity, and her endless capacity for work — for the rest of my life.”
Justice Neil Gorsuch:
Gorsuch wrote he and his wife had lost a cherished friend and colleague who was a distinguished judge.
“We are blessed by the happy memories that will remain, like traveling with Ruth to London where (to her delight) an uninformed guide kept calling her ‘Ruthie,’ or all the opera she tried so valiantly to teach me, or her sweet tooth at lunch, or the touching stories of her remarkable life with Marty. We will miss Ruth and our hearts go out to her family. May she rest in peace.”
Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh:
Kavanaugh wrote that no American had ever done more than Ginsburg to ensure equal justice under the law for women.
“A meticulous and pathmarking judge, she held herself to the highest standards of precision and accuracy in her beautifully crafted opinions. And she inspired all of us to try to meet those same exacting standards. I learned from her principled voice and marveled at her wonderful wit at our weekly conferences and daily lunches. Justice Ginsburg paved the way for women to become lawyers and judges.”
Retired Justice David Souter
Souter wrote that “Ruth Ginsburg was one of the members of the Court who achieved greatness before she became a great justice. I loved her to pieces.”
Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy:
“The members of the Court always will cherish all that Justice Ginsburg meant to us as a distinguished jurist and an inspiring, wonderful person,” he wrote.
“By her learning she taught devotion to the law. By her dignity she taught respect for others and her love for America. By her reverence for the Constitution, she taught us to preserve it to secure our freedom.”