Justice

San Benito County residents hold vigil for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Organizer Lauretta Avina: ‘Women of my generation and younger are very lucky because a strong woman like her paved the way for us.’

Admirers of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died at 87 on Sept. 18 of complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas, came together for a somber vigil Sept. 19 in front of the San Benito County Superior Court to honor her through shared recollections of her contributions and legal writings.

Mindful of social distancing and wearing masks, individuals spoke to one another of how Ginsberg was a dominant voice for women’s rights and gender equality.

Residents held a Sept. 19 vigil for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in front of the court house on Fourth Street in Hollister. Photo by John Chadwell.
Residents held a Sept. 19 vigil for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in front of the court house on Fourth Street in Hollister. Photo by John Chadwell.

Organizer Lauretta Avina said the vigil was a new experience for her, in that as a member of VFW 9242 Auxiliary, she normally speaks on veterans’ rights.

“It feels so good to be here,” Avina said. “I so respected Ruth. I’m an immigrant; she was an immigrant (Ginsberg was the child of immigrants, but she was born in Brooklyn, New York). I really love her and will miss her so much. Women of my generation and younger are very lucky because a strong woman like her paved the way for us.”

Photo by John Chadwell.
Photo by John Chadwell.

Attendee Anita Molina said of Washington politics, “They should honor her last wish and not pick a Supreme Court Justice until after the election. That was her last wish and we’ve got to fight for that.”

John Avina said he was taking part in the vigil to support his wife Lauretta’s stance on gender equality.

“She really took a liking to Justice Ginsberg,” he said. “She’s here because she believes in equal rights and to memorialize Justice Ginsberg and show the American public the support for her.”

Lauretta Avina organized the vigil the day after Ginsberg died. Photo by John Chadwell.
Lauretta Avina organized the vigil the day after Ginsberg died. Photo by John Chadwell.

At Avina’s invitation, State Assemblyman Robert Rivas came out to show his support. He said of the three branches of government, the Supreme Court “represents the best in all of us in how our laws are passed and interpreted and passed along generation to generation.

“I admire all she has done to make this a better place for all of us,” he said, adding he strongly supported the democratic system of government and agreed with the position that there should not be an appointment until after the Nov. 3 election.

State Assemblyman Robert Rivas said the selection of a new justice should be after the November elections out of respect for Ginsberg. Photo by John Chadwell.
State Assemblyman Robert Rivas said the selection of a new justice should be after the November elections out of respect for Ginsberg. Photo by John Chadwell.

Rivas said the precedent was set in 2016 when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

“The greatest problem that I have with our political system is the hypocrisy that is prevalent throughout the system,” Rivas said. “It sets a very bad example for the country at a time when our national politics is at a crossroad where we have seen so much division. This is a time when we should do our best to respect these political precedents. I would hope that Majority Leader McConnel would honor the precedent he set in 2016. We should wait until after the election because it’s so much closer to the election. This is a situation that merits respect.”

President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsberg in 1993. She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, after Sandra Day O’Connor.

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: johnchadwell@benitolink.com.