United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights and the court’s leading liberal voice, died at the age of 87 on Friday at her home in Washington.
Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.
“Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement.
“We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence those future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her – a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Ginsburg was a giant of American jurisprudence and a stalwart defender of women’s and voting rights.
She was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by then US president Bill Clinton – becoming only the second woman ever to serve on the court.
In recent years, Ginsburg became a popular culture icon known as the “Notorious RBG”. She was the subject of a feature film, On the Basis of Sex, and a 2018 documentary film on her life and legal career.
Her death a little more than six weeks before the November 3 presidential election is likely to start a fight in the US Senate about whether she should be replaced by a jurist nominated by US President Donald Trump.
Trump has already named two conservative justices to the court.
Informed by reporters after an election campaign rally about Ginsburg’s death, Trump said “she was an amazing woman” who “led an amazing life”. Trump did not mention any potential plans to nominate her replacement.
In a subsequent statement, the president hailed Ginsburg as a “titan of the law” who was “renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court”.
“Her opinions, including well known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds,” the statement added.
Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden said Ginsburg’s death was “very sad news” and also weighed in on the vacancy she leaves on the court.
“There is no doubt, let me be clear, that the voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said.
-Davinder Panesar, NMTV News