With Ginsburg's Death, Some In New Hampshire Worry About What's Next | New Hampshire Public Radio

With Ginsburg's Death, Some In New Hampshire Worry About What's Next

Sep 20, 2020

About 50 people attended a vigil in Portsmouth in honor of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

At the Portsmouth District Court on Saturday night, a group of about 50 people held candles, sang Amazing Grace and shared their thoughts about the legacy and life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87 because of metastatic pancreatic cancer. 

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Tanna Clews, CEO of the New Hampshire Women's Foundation, attended Saturday’s vigil in Portsmouth. She says many people are concerned about what comes next. 

“Across the world, and certainly across the U.S., women and men stood up to see - and realize - who is going to protect us now?” Clews said. “RBG has kind of been the last resort, the hold out. As someone said [Saturday], it was like she was our collective mom.” 

Ginsburg was the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court, and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights. 

“Our elected leaders have a duty to preserve and protect her life’s work, and nothing else,” says Kayla Montgomery, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. 

Montgomery says the action fund will focus their efforts over the next few weeks on “educat[ing] Granite Staters on the Executive Council, which approves judges to all of New Hampshire’s courts, including the state’s supreme court.” 

John Lewis, a former New Hampshire Superior Court judge, worked as a research assistant for Ginsburg at Columbia Law School in the early 70s. 

“She used the law marvelously and masterfully in accomplishing a great deal,” he said. 

In 2014, Lewis retired from the bench after being reprimanded over controversial comments about women lawyers. A complaint alleged he said that the legal profession is diminished because more women are becoming attorneys. 

Lewis says he feels the next few months will be contentious. 

“If we can at least remember who she was, and her principles, and her qualities, that’s a good starting point to finding some sort of good solution to all of this,” he said. 

In an interview Sunday, Sen. Maggie Hassan said that Senate Republicans should follow the precedent they set in 2016, when Sen. Mitch McConnell did not allow a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, saying that voters should be given a say by way of electing the next president. 

Hassan pointed to the case before the court about whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

“I think people have to appreciate this push to rush a nominee through is really a push on their part to try to do through the courts what they haven’t been able to do legislatively, which would be to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Hassan said. 

Both McConnell and President Trump have said they will move quickly to nominate Ginsburg’s replacement.