WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, has died 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.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein from California serves at the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Feinstein issued a press release shortly after Justice Ginsburg's death was announced.
"The country lost a truly amazing woman tonight with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She may have been small in stature but she was an absolute giant of jurisprudence.
"Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer for women. She was a once-in-a-generation legal mind and a passionate champion for the rights of all Americans. Simply put, she was an extraordinary person whose passing is a loss to the nation.
"Justice Ginsburg was trusted by women, by minorities, by all Americans to stand up for their rights. She wrote eloquent decisions and fiery dissents that placed her among the most eloquent of justices. Over her 27 years on the Supreme Court she was known as a liberal lion, but also as a kind, compassionate judge who understood the plight of everyone who came before the court.
"Health challenges plagued Justice Ginsburg's later years, but as with all aspects of her life she put her head down and forged ahead. Her ability to cope with cancer while still serving as a driving force on the court was a real testament to her strength and force of will. She'll be missed by a grateful nation."
Senator Feinstein also weighed in about the next Supreme Court judicial nomination. She said, "It has been reported that Justice Ginsburg's wish was that the winner of the upcoming election nominate her successor. We should all honor that wish," Feinstein said, "and wait until after the presidential inauguration to take action."
The California senator supported that position, saying that "under no circumstances" should the Senate consider a replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after the presidential inauguration. She references the Merrick Garland nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016, made to fill Justice Scalia's former seat. She said that seat was vacant for ten months, and blamed that on Senator Mitch McConnell, who held up the nomination for ten months "so he could deny President Obama an appointment."
"Merrick Garland was nominated to fill Scalia's seat on March 16, 2016 - 237 days before the presidential election. Today we're just 46 days away from an election. To jam through a lifetime appointment to the country's highest court - particularly to replace an icon like Justice Ginsburg - would be the height of hypocrisy," Senator Feinstein said Friday night.
Also in California, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) said, My deepest sympathies are with those who loved, knew, and looked up to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This August marked 27 years of service to our country as a Supreme Court Justice and we mourn her loss, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans."