On a chilly and somber Sunday, a small crowd gathered outside State Supreme Court in Garden City to remember the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last Friday at age 87.
“She lived a life of purpose — a purpose for life that was dedicated to championing women’s rights,” said Mahir Nisar, an attorney from Glen Head. “For somebody such as her who is an inspiration for so many attorneys and those who’ve advocated for civil rights, it’s a sad day, a sad moment to learn of her passing.”
The Nisar Law Group specializes in labor and employment cases, and civil rights cases. “As a civil rights and employment attorney, the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a deeply felt loss within the movement for civil rights and social justice,” Nisar said. “She is an inspiration for all that she achieved.”
Jude Schanzer, 67, an East Meadow Public Library employee from Freeport, said that Ginsburg’s death was the only event that could have brought her out to such a gathering on a Sunday that also happened to fall during Rosh Hashana.
“I don’t know why I took Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death so personally, but I did,” Schanzer said. “Part of it is because I’m Jewish … I got two stones and I laid them in the corner, because that’s what we do. Stones are everlasting.” After the gathering, she placed stones by a nearby flagpole as well.
“She’s a woman,” Schanzer said. “She’s a woman with children. She was the premier jurist. She’s Jewish. And she deserves respect. Now we’re going to continue her fight.”
Since her death, Glen Cove City Councilwoman Dr. Eve Lupenko Ferrante said, she had been reflecting on Ginsburg’s accomplishments. “Her life and legacy should inspire everyone, especially women, that we can excel at our career and also change the world,” Lupenko Ferrante said.
“Today our country lost a true hero,” Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke said in a statement last Friday. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a champion of justice and civil rights and fought tirelessly for the advancement of gender equality, women’s rights and true equality for all. There will never be another one like her.”
Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Lieberman has over 40 years of experience as an attorney. From 1980 to 1982, he served as chief of the civil rights unit for the Nassau County D.A., and he said his experience as a civil rights lawyer gives him a special admiration for Ginsburg.
“She had a long history of advocacy on behalf of women’s rights and was honored by becoming a Supreme Court justice, both for her intellect and her ideals of the Constitution,” Lieberman said. “As like Thurgood Marshall championed civil rights for minorities, Justice Ginsburg emulated that cause as it pertained to equal justice under the law for all people.”
State Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine took to Facebook to share a poem by Maya Angelou titled “When Great Trees Fall”:
“When great souls die,
after a period, peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
To be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be.”
Lavine said it was a time to mourn with Ginsburg’s family and to reflect on her extraordinary life of dignity, dedication, love, valor and honor. He called her a great American.
State Sen. Jim Gaughran said on social media that he, too, was saddened to learn of Ginsburg’s death. “Her life’s work reflected a fierce commitment to equality, compassion and justice,” Gaughran wrote. “Her legacy will be remembered in the countless women empowered through Justice Ginsburg’s lifelong devotion to advocating for women’s rights.”
Mike Conn contributed to this story