Video: In Late-Night Floor Speech, Cantwell Remembers Justice Ginsburg, Honors Her Legacy of Fighting for Equal Justice, Criticizes Rush to Support Yet-Unnamed Nominee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a speech on the Senate floor late last night, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) remembered the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her legacy as a trailblazer and a passionate, effective advocate for the rights of millions of Americans.

“What an unbelievable hero she was: a trailblazer, a deep thinker, the things that she did on the Court to do so many important things for the rights of Americans,” Cantwell said. “She took her tools and applied them for the betterment of American women and American society overall. And people across the United States of America are reeling from her passing because they want to know who’s going to stand up for their rights now that she’s gone.”

In her remarks, Cantwell shared and reflected on some of the more than 2,000 messages she has received from constituents in the days since Justice Ginsburg’s passing. A constituent from Shelton wrote about women’s slow and ongoing push for increased equality and Justice Ginsburg’s critical role; a business owner from Issaquah wrote about the economic importance of empowering women; a father from Bellingham wrote about his worries about his daughter’s future; and a constituent from Edmonds wrote about her concerns about the future of existing laws protecting critical rights for millions of Americans.

“That’s really what’s going on here in America, this movement about RBG, is you stood up to protect us, and now you’re gone, and what is going to happen?” Cantwell said.

She also spoke about the process surrounding the now-open Supreme Court seat moving forward: criticizing the rush to support filling the seat without even knowing who will be nominated.

“You know, we can sit here and argue back and forth about what people said when, and how, and all of that. What I don’t understand is this: it takes time to review the record of someone for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, in which these important issues to working families, and whether they have as much power and as much clout and as much standing as a corporation in America, people want to know where they stand… You are setting a horrible precedent,” Cantwell said.

Cantwell closed her remarks by touching on the importance of carrying Ginsburg’s work and advocacy forward: “It is up to all of us to continue her legacy and get equal pay for equal work and continue to protect these rights that are well-established in the United States of America.”

The video of Senator Cantwell’s remarks is available HERE and audio is HERE.

Here are the constituent comments Senator Cantwell read in her remarks, with links to where each comment was read in the speech:

  • Lin from Shelton“I am old enough to have grown up experiencing the subtle and not so subtle discrimination aimed at girls and women that have limited our self-expression, participation in sports, politics, college accessibility, the workplace and even in family life and reproduction. It has been slow progress for us to achieve increased equality and we have SO much to thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg for. I am deeply saddened and frightened by her passing. As you know our democracy, freedoms, integrity and rule of law are threatened and are at great risk.”
  • Eileen from Issaquah“Justice RBG fought so valiantly for our rights as women–as women, we provide so much for the Washington economy. I am a business owner myself and I am terrified that gender protections are in grave danger. Ensuring civil liberties is not just the moral thing to do, but it makes sound economic policy as well. Allowing more people more opportunities does not take from those with power, but it grows our economy as a state, and as a country, allowing all of us to be more prosperous together. That includes reproductive rights, which is the keystone to allowing women full economic opportunities as men.”
  • Andrew from Bellingham“Mostly I mourn for the future of my four-year-old daughter. The prospect of women losing the right to choose and an erosion of gender equity is frightening.”
  • Katy from Edmonds“Even though the air this morning looks relatively clear again in Seattle, our future is as foggy as ever. While I mourn the death of RBG, I cannot help but feel tremendous anxiety about the future of the existing laws in effect that protect all people’s rights from legal abortions to access to health care and laws that protect our votes and freedom of speech — laws that RBG protected.”