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.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered Virginia state flags to be flown at half-staff in Ginsburg’s honor. Northam released the following statement on Ginsburg’s passing, “It is with the deepest sadness that Pam and I mourn the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a giant on the court, a brilliant legal mind, and an unwavering beacon in the fight for equal justice and gender equity. Justice Ginsburg’s eloquence and passion made the world better and fairer—that includes ensuring my alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute, admitted women as cadets. Her loss leaves a tremendous void on the Court and in this country. May her legacy in the pursuit of justice live on, and may her memory be a blessing.”
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