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Area professionals react to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Much of America is mourning the passing of Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg this evening. Nominated by President Bill Clinton and taking her place on the bench just 26 days later, Ginsberg died of complication from cancer today at the age of 87.

Known by her initials RGB, she was heroine, a guiding light and courageous champion of women's rights in the highest court of law in this country. Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court after Sandra Day O'Connor. She protected abortion rights and a wide range of other progressive ideals on an otherwise conservative Supreme Court.

"It’s honestly terrifying," said Tasha Shadden, a 2011 graduate from St. Joseph-Ogden High School currently working toward a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. "She was the voice for gender equality and reproductive rights and losing that is a huge loss for women. It’s hands down the worst part of 2020 so far."

Like Shadden, Doctor Suzanne Ford, who graduated from the University Of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine in 2019, was a distance runner with the SJO running program. She said Ginsberg's showed strength and passion in her final days.

"Ruth Bader Ginsberg was an inspiration to so many women as she broke through the glass ceiling in the world of law, as not many women attended law school at the time that she did. She stood up for what was right and fair at all costs, and fought for equality for women, especially in education, paving the way for women such as myself to not be discriminated against in our pursuit of education.

"She was firm and known for her fierce dissents, which made her a role model for so many to stand up for what they believe is right, even when that’s against the majority. As she aged, RBG battled cancer yet remained active and continued to serve on the Supreme Court, which shows her strength and passion to uphold a fair and just legal system for our country. Even with her popularity, she remained humble. She is a hero to so many of us and will be greatly missed."

St. Joseph resident Kelly Miller Skinner, owner of Soul Care Urban Retreat Center was stunned by the news.  She wrote:

"I was shocked by the news. I've just spent the last 30 minutes being bombarded by text messages by female leaders and friends around the country who are devastated. Many see this as another blow that 2020 has dealt us. With the sadness, also comes a renewed determination to fight for justice and to step up campaign support efforts because of the fear that conservative political leaders will push a replacement before the election. There is a sense of needing to fight harder.

For me, she has always represented someone who works hard and uses all her smarts and skills to work within the system for lasting change. She has inspired so many women of all ages that they can make a difference in their own way and in their own spheres. Her plain talk has given words to what we all feel.

I also keep thinking....who is going to step up and inspire us next?

St. Joseph's Jennifer Tuttle hopes whoever replaces Ginsberg, mirrors the strength and determination she was known for by her admirers.

"Clearly she had a big part in women’s rights in the us," said Tuttle, General Manager of Champaign's Red Lobster. "I viewed her as a helper, one that always wanted to try to find common ground. She was a lady first, yet still showed independence. Hopefully, the next person to take the spot shows the same class that she did."

With less than two months before the presidential election, Ginsburg's passing will surely deepen and already polarized country making its way through a controversial pandemic, economic decline, and civil unrest in cities around the country.

President Donald Trump will likely become the first president since Richard Nixon to confirm three supreme court justices in a single term. Washington will be political battleground as Republicans will undoubtedly at the President's insistence push through a nominee before November. 

Ginsberg will be laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery. 


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