WASHINGTON (AP) – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.
Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.
Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.
Ginsburg spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s liberal wing and became something of a rock star to her admirers.
Young women especially seemed to embrace the court’s Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the Notorious RBG, for her defense of the rights of women and minorities, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.
Those health issues included five bouts with cancer beginning in 1999, falls that resulted in broken ribs, insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery and assorted other hospitalizations after she turned 75.
She resisted calls by liberals to retire during Barack Obama’s presidency at a time when Democrats held the Senate and a replacement with similar views could have been confirmed.
Instead, President Donald Trump will almost certainly try to push Ginsburg’s successor through the Republican-controlled Senate – and move the conservative court even more to the right.
Governor Gavin Newsom posted to Twitter:
“We have lost a giant among us. A trailblazer/ And a champion of equality and justice. Our hearts ache tonight. Let us honor her memory by preserving the very ideals she fought so tirelessly for. Rest in Power.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi also released the following statement:
“The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is devasting. Justice Ginsberg embodied justice, brilliance and goodness, and her passing is an incalculable loss for our democracy and for all who sacrifice and strive to build a better future for our children.
“Every family in America benefited from her brilliant legacy and courage. Over the course of her quarter century as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsberg became an icon, inspiring people around the world with her tenacity, towering intellect and devotion to the American promise of equality and opportunity for all. Her tireless advocacy in the fight for gender equality, whether working at the ACLU, arguing cases before the Supreme Court or authoring thoughtful and historic opinions and dissents as an Associate Justice, leaves an enduring legacy of progress for all women. Her opinions have unequivocally cemented the precedent that all men and women are created equal.
“We must honor Justice Ginsburg’s trailblazing career and safeguard her powerful legacy by ensuring that the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court upholds her commitment to equality, opportunity and justice for all. May it be a source of comfort to her children, Jane and James, her grandchildren Paul, Clara, Miranda and Abigail, and loved ones that so many people around the world mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”
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