Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at age 87 on Friday from complications with metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. She passed away at home in Washington, surrounded by family.
Justice Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, is heralded as a feminist icon for her early history of championing gender equality and fighting sex-based discrimination. During her tenure on the bench, she has delivered progressive votes on seminal cases on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and healthcare, per CNN. She's also been known to critique the Trump administration.
In recent years, her political stature transformed into full-blown celebrity status, earning the nickname "Notorious R.B.G." from young liberal fans. She also became an unlikely fitness idol in her old age and a recurring character on Saturday Night Live (portrayed by Kate McKinnon).
"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tired and resolute champion of justice."
Justice Ginsburg has endured five bouts of cancer in the last 21 years, most recently in July. At the time, she announced positive results from chemotherapy. Even then, she was determined to continue working. "I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam," she said. "I remain fully able to do that."
Her passing will inevitably open up a fierce political battle on her possible replacement on the Supreme Court, which will certainly cast a shadow on the looming presidential election. According to NPR, the justice told her granddaughter on her deathbed, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
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