San Diegans React to Death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg died Friday at age 87

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It would be an understatement to call Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a trailblazer. Her contributions to the country are perhaps only outweighed by what she represented for its women.

She broke barriers, over and over again, and quickly developed into the ultimate role model.

In San Diego and around the world people were heartbroken to learn of her passing from cancer complications at the age of 87.

“Well, I was devastated because she’s sort of like a hero, an American hero,” Wendy Johnson said. “I’m from New Zealand but the whole world regards her with great affection."

San Diegans are continuing to honor the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. NBC 7’s Ramon Galindo shows you some memorials that locals have created.

Affection for the trails she blazed in the legal community and mountains she moved for gender equality and women’s rights.

“You admire her hard work, her determination, she’s crushing glass ceilings before we even know what that word was,” San Diego Attorney Deborah Dixon said.

Despite graduating at the top of her law class, firms were closed to women. But that didn't stop her.

Ginsburg would go on to become a professor and attorney, leaving her mark on influential cases.

"Pregnancy used to be considered a pre-existing condition and health insurers were allowed to discriminate on the basis of that," political analyst Laura Fink said. "She took on cases that would prove that treating men and women differently under the law was illegal.”

And you don't have to work in the legal or justice fields to feel how she fundamentally changed the system.

Now with her seat vacant many worry progress is in jeopardy.

"Roe v. Wade, some of the rulings around women and contraception, rulings around gender equality. Her life’s work is on the chopping block potentially, depending on who is appointed to fill her seat," Fink said.

But the focus Friday is on her legacy, cultural impact as a feminist icon, and her connection to younger generations of women as the "Notorious RBG."

"We had a fierce advocate in the supreme court fighting for us, spending her final days still working and making sure that our most vulnerable citizens were protected," said Judy Hallowell of the United States of Women.

In a tweet, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer and an inspiration to so many here and across this nation to achieve more. She was a true public servant. Thank you, Justice Ginsburg, for your service. Rest In Peace."

District Attorney Summer Stephan told NBC 7 she admired that Justice Ginsburg reached the top of the legal profession, that her legal rulings changed the path for so many women when it comes to the ability to pursue any career they desire and work for equal pay. As a woman in law, Stephan says it was Justice Ginsburg's professionalism and strength she looked up to.

“When I watched her listened to her, her questions to the lawyers were so precise and clear to understanding that this person really prepared for this and understood how important it is to represent the justice system as a Supreme Court justice,” Stephans said.

Stephan said with surprising her now is how many young people she has influenced like her daughters.

“She became a role model and icon to the younger generation. My own daughters looked up to her as a model of strength, of determination, of perseverance and independence,” she said.

Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) also weighed in on Twitter.

“We have lost a major force of our time. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a tireless advocate for justice, a brilliant legal mind, and an outstanding role model for generations of people. Like millions of Americans, I join Justice Ginsburg’s family in mourning her devastating loss, and honoring her legacy of feminism, equality, and progress.”

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