Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87 after battling pancreatic cancer.
"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said, according to NPR. "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."
According to her granddaughter Clara Spera, via NPR, before her death, she said "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, Ginsburg became a firebrand during her time on the Supreme Court. Not only did she become a pop-culture phenomenon, earning the nickname "Notorious RGB," she was the subject of a documentary and had her early life turned into a feature film, On the Basis of Sex. She was appointed to the highest court in America by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993 after serving as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1980-1993.
Legal scholars and equal-rights advocates credit Ginsburg's and her complete body of work with making huge milestones in the legal advancement of women under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Her legal victories discouraged legislatures from treating women and men differently and continued to push for women's rights throughout her career. She is also widely believed to be the very first Supreme Court justice to officiate a same-sex wedding. On August 31, 2013, she oversaw the ceremony of then-Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser and his partner, John Roberts. In 2018, she voiced her support for the #MeToo movement, telling NPR, "It's about time. For so long women were silent, thinking there was nothing you could do about it, but now the law is on the side of women, or men, who encounter harassment and that's a good thing."
Concerns over Ginsburg's health began in 1999, when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. In 2009, she had a second surgery for pancreatic cancer. In 2018, she fractured three ribs after a fall at the Supreme Court and returned to the bench just a few days later. A scan after the fall revealed cancerous nodules in her lungs and she underwent a left-lung lobectomy later that year. In 2019, it was reported that she underwent three weeks of radiation treatment to ablate a tumor in her pancreas.
Ginsburg is survived by her two children, Jane and James.
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