Hawaii Mourns Trailblazing Supreme Court Jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sep 19, 2020

Flags across Hawaii will be flying at half-staff in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died yesterday at 87.

Gov. David Ige called her “a giant in advocating for justice and equity,” adding that she “visited Hawaii several times, and it was clear that her values were closely aligned with those of our community.”

Ginsburg came to Hawaii three times while she was on the Supreme Court. She took part in the “Jurists in Residence” program at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

Former Law School Dean Avi Sofier called her death “a huge loss.” 

"And she was beloved as well as deeply respected by her colleagues, many of whom obviously didnʻt agree with her," he said. "So itʻs taking some of the glue out of the court, which I think is a very serious loss. And she clearly was brilliant analytically, a brilliant justice, and so it's a loss of a great justice, no matter your politics. She is, was, one of the leading of the leading justices of the Supreme Court. Thereʻs no question about that."

Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald called Ginsburg “a brilliant jurist who tirelessly worked to ensure that our nation’s promise of justice for all was kept." He added: “She was also a courageous and inspirational role model, both professionally and personally.”

The chief justice said Ginsburg visited the Hawaii Supreme Court on several occasions. "Most recently, she visited our court in 2017, when she met with the justices and members of the bar, and then graciously spoke about her experiences and her love of Hawaii with law clerks and staff attorneys," he said.

Hawaii congressional members also joined in recognizing her legacy.

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz  said: "In devoting her life to advancing equality and justice for all, she made our country a better place and blazed a trail for women in civic life. She leaves behind a powerful and enduring legacy that we must fight to protect."

Schatz also said her final wish to have a new president sworn in before her replacement is confirmed should be respected.

"Just like [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues said in 2016, the American people deserve a say in their next Supreme Court justice,” Schatz said.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono expressed similar sentiments in a news release.

“I have a very simple message for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell tonight. The best and only way to honor the life’s work of Justice Ginsburg, a giant of a jurist, is to honor her fervent final wish that she not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Hirono said there are "literally not enough words to describe the transformational impact she had on the lives of millions of Americans as an advocate and a jurist."

U.S. Rep. Ed Case said: “We have lost a giant. A good and decent citizen who believed passionately in her country and Constitution and, when called to great responsibility, discharged it honorably and fully."

State flags will remain at half-staff until Ginsburg's interment, the governor said.

The U.S. Supreme Court said in a news release that she will have a private interment service at Arlington National Cemetery, although no date was cited. There was no announcement of public services as of last night.