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Courts and Crime

Hundreds Gather In Portland To Remember Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ed Morin
Maine Public
Hundreds gathered in Portland Monument Square Sunday to remember the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Several hundred people gathered Sunday evening in Portland's Monument Square for a vigil honoring late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Speakers remembered Ginsberg as a legal giant and a champion for equal justice. They also heard numerous calls to action.

"We must dissent for us all," said Portland resident Paige Nygaard, a community organizer. "We must continue to push the boundaries of what we think is possible.  We must see the world like justice Ginsburg saw it."

Credit Ed Morin / Maine Public
Marie Marie Follayttar, director of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, speaks at a vigil Sunday in Portland to honor the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The event was organized by Mainers for Accountable Leadership, directed by Marie Follayttar.

"We are staring down authoritarianism as it barrels toward us like a freight train, and I am telling you, in this game of chicken, I ain't moving," Follayttar said as the crowd cheered. "And I know none of you are either."

Also speaking the event was state Sen. Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, who led the crowd in a call and response.

"Who guards our constitutional rights?" she asked.

"We the people!" the crowd responded.

Bellows: "Who?

Crowd: "We the people!"

Bellows: "That's right."

Follayttar said no one should be nominated to fill Ginsburg's seat until a new president and Congress are sworn in. And she said Republican incumbent Sen. Susan Collins should not have the opportunity to cast another vote for a Supreme Court justice.

Collins has been fighting backlash to her controversial 2018 vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A poll by Siena College and the New York Times released Friday showed 55 percent of respondents opposed Collins’ vote.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, Collins said she does not object to the president choosing a nominee and for the Senate Judiciary Committee to begin the vetting process. However, she said does not think the Senate should vote to confirm the nominee until after the November 3 election.

"In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November third," she said.

Steve Mistler contributed to this story.