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For a lot of people, today, September 17, 2020 is yet one more reminder of how dark this year is. That reminder, unfortunately, is the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was 87.
Ginsberg died Friday evening at her home in Washington DC. Her death was due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer, according to an announcement from the Supreme Court.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement. “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.”
Here’s more via CNN:
President Bill Clinton appointed Ginsberg back in 1993 and in recent years served as the most senior member of the court’s liberal wing consistently delivering progressive votes on the most divisive social issues of the day, including abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care and affirmative action.
Along the way, she developed a rock star type status and was dubbed the “Notorious R.B.G.” In speaking events across the country before liberal audiences, she was greeted with standing ovations as she spoke about her view of the law, her famed exercise routine and her often fiery dissents.
She had suffered from five bouts of cancer, most recently a recurrence in early 2020 when a biopsy revealed lesions on her liver. In a statement she said that chemotherapy was yielding “positive results” and that she was able to maintain an active daily routine.
“I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam,” she said in a statement in July 2020. ” I remain fully able to do that.”
She told an audience in 2019 that she liked to keep busy even when she was fighting cancer. “I found each time that when I’m active, I’m much better than if I’m just lying about and feeling sorry for myself,” she said in New York at the Yale Club at an event hosted by Moment Magazine. Ginsburg told another audience that she thought she would serve until she was 90 years old.
Tiny in stature, she could write opinions that roared disapproval when she thought the majority had gone astray.
Before the election of President Donald Trump, Ginsburg told CNN that he “is a faker” and noted that he had “gotten away with not turning over his tax returns.” She later said she regretted making the comments and Trump suggested she should recuse herself in cases concerning him. She never did
In 2011, by contrast, President Barack Obama singled out Ginsburg at a White House ceremony. “She’s one of my favorites,” he said, “I’ve got a soft spot for Justice Ginsburg.”
The vacancy gives Trump the opportunity to further solidify the conservative majority on the court and fill the seat of a woman who broke through the glass ceiling at a time when few women attended law school with a different justice who could steer the court to the right on social issues.