Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dead at 87

A sad day for the Supreme Court, and the country

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2002.
David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

The Supreme Court announced this evening that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87. The cause of death, NPR reports, was complications as a result of metastatic cancer of the pancreas. Justice Ginsburg’s life story and long tenure on the Supreme Court was an inspiration to many.

Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton in 1993 and was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 96-3. In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts called Ginsburg “a tired and resolute champion of justice.”

Prior to her time on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg was known for arguing a number of high-profile gender discrimination cases, which helped to transform American society. Ginsburg was also the founder of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

In 1980 Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where she served for 13 years until her appointment to the Supreme Court.

Justice Ginsburg’s public persona — as the subject of a number of books and films — made her a feminist icon, particularly in the last decade. Her long-running friendship with fellow Justice Antonin Scalia, which transcended ideological lines, was also an inspiration to many.

Besides her intellectual rigor, Ginsburg also possessed an admirable physical strength: she was treated for cancer five times over the course of her life.

In an interview last year, Ginsburg expressed hope that she might remain on the Supreme Court for as long as her former colleague Justice John Paul Stevens, who served on the court until he was 90.

NPR’s report on Ginsburg’s death notes that she died at home, with her family by her side. Earlier this week, she dictated a statement to her granddaughter, outlining one final request: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

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