From a president to the sitting governor, Georgians from both sides of the aisle mourned Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.
Former President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the Federal Court of Appeals in 1980, putting her on the trajectory to becoming a justice. He said Friday night that he and his wife were saddened by the 87-year-old’s death.
“A powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality, she has been a beacon of justice during her long and remarkable career,” Carter said in a statement. “I was proud to have appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980. We join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a truly great woman.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was also among those expressing condolences.
“Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer, poured her heart and soul into public service, and made a lasting, positive impact on our Great Nation,” he said.
Although most elected officials focused on honoring Ginsburg’s memory, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler was one of few Republicans willing to explore the touchy subject of finding a replacement. Loeffler said she supports moving quickly on confirming whoever President Donald Trump appoints to succeed Ginsburg.
“Our country’s future is at stake & @realDonaldTrump has every right to pick a new justice before the election,” Loeffler wrote on Twitter. “I look forward to supporting a strict constructionist who will protect the right to life & safeguard our conservative values.”
Such a move would be controversial since Senate Republicans refused to allow Barack Obama to fill the seat after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, citing the election year. Trump won the vote and appointed conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch in January 2017.
Many female judges remarked upon Ginsburg’s groundbreaking career as a reproductive rights advocate and only the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, including Leah Ward Sears, the Georgia Supreme Court’s first female justice.
“Justice Ginsberg was a great lady, and a fine jurist who left an Incredible legacy,” Sears said. “Not only that, but she was a role model to many, especially young girls and young women, who looked at her and saw what they could be. I will miss her terribly.”
Linda Klein, the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia and former president of the American Bar Association, said Ginsburg was also a hero to many female attorneys.
“An inspiration for women lawyers globally and a champion for equal rights under the law," Klein said.