Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the presiding Supreme Court justice on issues of women’s rights and gender equality, has died at the age of 87. Her passing comes at the end of a long battle with cancer, which had recently returned even though she, all the while, chose to remain on the Supreme Court bench. Ginsburg has served on the Supreme Court since August 1993, after then-President Bill Clinton nominated her in June of that year. She died of metastatic pancreatic cancer in her home in Washington, DC.
“Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement (via The New York Times). “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.”
This news of Ginsburg’s passing gives President Donald Trump the opportunity to name her replacement in the months before the election on November 3.
Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University after which she became a wife and a mother before entering law school at Harvard as one of the few women in her class. She transferred to Columbia, graduating top-tier, and then entered academia, serving as a professor at Rutgers Law School as well as Columbia Law School, teaching civil procedure as, once again, one of the few women in her field. Throughout her legal career, she argued on behalf of women’s rights, and as a volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, serving on its board and as one of its general counsels in the 1970s. In 1980, Jimmy Carter appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which she held until her Supreme Court appointment.
Most recently, Ginsburg regained a spotlight in the cultural zeitgeist as the subject of the 2018 documentary “RBG,” from directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen. The film was nominated at the 91st Academy Awards in the categories of Best Documentary Feature and Best Original Song, for the number “I’ll Fight.” Later in the same year, Felicity Jones starred as Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex.”