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Local leaders from across the political spectrum shared their the reactions to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday at the age of 87.

Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi: 
“She was an inspiration not only for a new generation of women who realize you can achieve anything if you were her new dream, but also for her pragmatism and the integrity that she added into the court. “This has been a heck of a year. We’re all really busy dealing with the economic fallout of COVID, the fear for our safety. But this really takes the presidential election to a whole different level. And now we have to stop and realize elections have consequences.

“We live in a time where there’s divisiveness in this country. We have the president and Congress disagreeing. We have Congress itself and the Senate disagreeing. The most powerful branch, in my opinion, is the deciding branch. That’s the judicial branch — the Supreme Court.

“And, you know, there’s definitely a void to fill. And the question is, which way is it going to go? I think that you would find people that are hard core conservatives that respected her intelligence. And I hope that we have someone to fill those those shoes. But I think in this environment, it’s going to be very difficult. So this really is a loss for our country, for for many, many years.”

Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez:
“The words that come to mind when I think about her, I mean, she was really a trailblazer and a huge champion for women’s rights. I think when she was nominated and I remember, you know, writing a paper in college about her, she was really seen as a moderate. Kind of the phrase I used when I described her was the the conscience of the Supreme Court. Because she came in at a time when, I think it was the mid 90s, 1993, 94, when President Clinton nominated her and she had this just wealth of life experience, that perspective that was not traditionally included as as a woman, as a as an attorney, as one of the first attorneys in her field. And so she really was a trailblazer, a pioneer.

“And then later, if you think about it, she really turned into a popular icon, you know, a symbol of women’s rights and equality pay and civil rights. And so to lose somebody like that, with that wealth of knowledge and wisdom at a time when our country needs it the most, it’s just a really tragic situation. And I’ll be interested to see if, you know, Senator McConnell abides by the same rule that he implemented when President Obama was leaving. He said that during an election year, the next president should nominate the next justice of the Supreme Court. So I think, you know, knowing that the political climate right now will probably figure out a way of politicizing this even more.

“And I think it’s going to be one of those, you know, turning points and moments in our in our nation’s history where it’s going to energize people on both sides because the Supreme Court is at a time when there’s chaos and, you know, lack of rule of law. I think we need people that are going to be in there that can really rein in what this country is really about. And I think she just symbolized that. And it’s just a tragic loss for for the nation.”

Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria: 

“I’m heartbroken for the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Not only did we lose a trailblazer for women in our country, we lost a champion for equality and justice. She made young women like me believe that we belong in all places where decisions are being made. Her passing is the latest and strongest reminder that the stakes are high this election. We must all vote in 2020 as if our current rights and future rights are at risk because they are.”

Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes:
“I want to say my condolences to her family.”

Rep. Jim Costa (D – Fresno), 16th Congressional District:
“The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a sad day for all of America. A woman jurist who broke the glass ceiling in so many different ways, she was strong advocate on behalf of women’s rights and civil justice. She made a difference. Justice Ginsburg was respected by conservative and moderate jurists. Her ability to build bridges with giants like Justice O’Connor and Justice Scalia is one of many examples on how she balanced the scales of justice.”

Diane Pearce, President — Fresno County & City Republican Women Federated:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an icon of the political left. However, she also showed that being a political odds – even extreme political odds – does not have to interfere with personal relationships as demonstrated by her dear friendship with conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Ginsburg will also be remembered as a fierce warrior overcoming multiple bouts with cancer. While I vehemently disagreed with many of her opinions and politics, this is a time to remember her place in our American story.”

Barbara McAuliffe, U.S. Magistrate Judge — Eastern District of California
“RBG was an unparalleled legal giant, who leaves a legacy of gender equality and commitment to the rule of law.  May she now rest in peace.”

Carol Mills, Attorney & Fresno Unified School Board Trustee:
“RBG’s death is a loss for the Supreme Court and this çountry.  She was a champion of equality for women and civil rights.  Her loss is felt deeply by me and thousands of others.

And for women lawyers, she was a role model.”

Janice Pearson, Dean of San Joaquin College of Law:

“She was a great justice, and it’s a tragedy that she’s gone.”

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig:
“Obviously she’s been battling illness for quite some time now. With her passing my heart goes out to her family. Looking at the opportunity between the US Senate and now this … do they wait until after the election, or do they do it now? My heart goes out to the family of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

State Sen. Shannon Grove (R – Bakersfield), Senate Republican Leader:
“My deepest sympathies are with those who loved, knew, and looked up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This August marked 27 years of service to our country as a Supreme Court Justice and we mourn her loss, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans.”

Analisa Perea, State Center Community College District Trustee:
“The loss of RBG reinforces the need for more women in leadership roles. … She led by doing what was right, even when it was not always popular. It’s definitely going to be big shoes to fill.”

Jodie Howard, San Joaquin College of Law graduate & Director of BREN Clinic for Special Education Rights:
“Ginsburg was an advocate for equality in gender and disability issues. “This is devastating. Losing her voice … is a big loss.” Turner said Ginsburg’s impact on the law will be felt for some time to come. She wrote beautifully and powerfully, and even her dissents are “extremely influential.”

Yesenia Carillo, President of Fresno County Women Lawyers and Central Unified Trustee:

“I am heartbroken by the loss of one of our greatest Justices. A tremendous loss to our society. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a champion for the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality in the law. May her legacy continue to inspire generations to come as it has inspired me. May we honor her by continuing to fight against inequities.”

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