Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the pioneering Supreme Court justice who became the second female on the nation’s highest court, the leader of its liberal wing and a pop culture icon known as Notorious R.B.G.
She was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton to fill the seat vacated by Justice Byron White.
The Brooklyn-born daughter of a Jewish immigrant from Russia was the second woman to rise to the bench of the nation’s highest court.
The vacancy enables President Donald Trump to nominate his third justice to swing the bench further to the right. His two previous nominations — of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — created huge political battles.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the pioneering Supreme Court justice who became the second female on the nation’s highest court, the leader of its liberal wing and a pop culture icon known as Notorious R.B.G., has died. She was 87.
The vacancy enables President Donald Trump to nominate his third justice to swing the bench further to the right, setting up what’s certain to be a colossal battle perhaps even bigger than those of his nominations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
According to NPR, days before her death, Ginsburg told her granddaughter: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Ginsburg had a history of medical problems. In December 2018, doctors removed two cancerous nodules from her left lung, and she underwent additional treatment in August 2019 for a tumor on her pancreas. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery in 2009 for pancreatic cancer.
The Supreme Court released the following statement Friday:
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. She was 87 years old. Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993.
She was the second woman appointed to the Court and served more than 27 years. She is survived by her two children: Jane Carol Ginsburg (George Spera) and James Steven Ginsburg (Patrice Michaels), four grandchildren: Paul Spera (Francesca Toich), Clara Spera (Rory Boyd), Miranda Ginsburg, Abigail Ginsburg, two step-grandchildren: Harjinder Bedi, Satinder Bedi, and one great- grandchild: Lucrezia Spera. Her husband, Martin David Ginsburg, died in 2010.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said of Justice Ginsburg: “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. 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 tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Justice Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961.
From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. During her more than 40 years as a Judge and a Justice, she was served by 159 law clerks. While on the Court, the Justice authored My Own Words (2016), a compilation of her speeches
By early January 2020, Ginsburg told CNN she was “cancer free,” but in July she announced that she was being treated for liver cancer.
The nodules in her lung were discovered in November 2018, when she was hospitalized for broken ribs following a fall in her office. Ginsburg’s convalescence 2½ weeks after the lung surgery ended her 25-year streak of never missing hearing a Supreme Court case for any reason outside of recusal, but she continued to work from home in her Watergate apartment.