Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who became a cultural and feminist icon, died Friday, September 18. She was 87. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying she was surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C. Ginsburg’s cause of death was complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said in the official statement. “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.”
Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton. After she took the oath of office on August 10, 1993, she became the second-ever female justice. Throughout her career, she’s recovered from numerous illnesses. She dealt with four bouts of cancer, including colorectal, pancreatic and lung cancer.
Days before her death, Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera — a powerful message to America and the current administration, as reported by NPR.
Ginsburg said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Nicknamed “Notorious RBG,” Ginsburg’s goal was not only to serve until after the 2020 election, but she told CNN in 2018 that her goal was to stay on the bench until age 90, the same age as her former colleague Justice John Paul Stevens when he stepped down from the bench.
Ginsburg’s Replacement Would Mark Trump’s Third Supreme Court Nomination
Ginsburg was the leader of the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, and her death will cause a political battle over who will step up to replace her. If the nominating decision lands with President Donald Trump, it will mark his third Supreme Court nominee since taking office.
The president has already appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. If Trump is able to appoint Ginsburg’s replacement, Republicans have the chance to have a 6-to-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shared a statement following Ginsburg’s death that concluded by saying, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate” — a vast contrast from his statement on the matter when Barack Obama nearing the end of his presidency in 2016.
Two GOP Senators & Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Said RBG Should Not Be Replaced Until After the Election
Following the news of Ginsburg’s death, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
Schumer, a Democratic senator from California, has early bipartisan support. Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Chuck Grassley went on the record to say that they would not vote for a SCOTUS replacement before the 2020 election, as reported by New York magazine.
Alaska Public Media D.C. correspondent Liz Ruskin confirmed Murkowski’s statement on Friday. Ruskin tweeted, “Alaska’s @lisamurkowski said today she won’t confirm a new SCOTUS justice until after the inauguration day. Fair is fair, she says.”