Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87. She had served on the nation’s highest court since her appointment by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Ginsburg had battled cancer in recent years and finally succumbed to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer Fox News reported. She continued to fulfill her duties as a Supreme Court Justice up until her death.
Her colleagues on the Supreme Court offered their thoughts on Ginsburg after learning of her passing. Chief Justice John Roberts said, “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. 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.”
Justice Clarence Thomas, now the longest-serving member of the court, said Ginsburg was, “the essence of grace, civility, and dignity.” He praised her as a superb judge who “gave her best and exacted the best from each of us. And, as outstanding as she was as a judge, she was an even better colleague – unfailingly gracious, thoughtful, and civil.”
The newest member of the court, Brett Kavanaugh, said that “no American has ever done more than Justice Ginsburg to ensure equal justice under law for women. “She was a cherished colleague, and she inspired me, and all of us, with her unparalleled work ethic and devotion to the law. A meticulous and pathmarking judge, she held herself to the highest standards of precision and accuracy in her beautifully crafted opinions. And she inspired all of us to try to meet those same exacting standards.”
The death of Ginsburg may bring to an end an era of the Supreme Court that was characterized by a four to four divide between conservatives and liberals, with Chief Justice Roberts, a conservative, often providing the deciding vote. Roberts sided with both liberals and conservatives on recent rulings.
The replacement of Ginsburg could potentially fundamentally shape the next 30 years of the high court, the Guardian said. President Donald Trump, who has already nominated two Supreme Court Justices in his first term, is now in line to select his third. He has indicated that he will be making his nomination as soon as possible. At a Saturday night rally in North Carolina Trump said of his choice, “It will be a woman — a very talented, very brilliant woman. I think it should be a woman. I actually like women much more than I like men.”
The two most likely candidates for the position are judges Amy Coney Barrett, 48, and Barbara Lagoa, 52, according to Fox News. Both are conservative Roman Catholics. Barrett was a clerk for Justice Scalia, while Lagoa is a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative group.
Some liberals had pushed for Ginsburg to retire from the court when President Obama was in office so that the liberal Democrat could pick her successor. She rejected such advice and continued to serve out her lifetime appointment with diligence and pride.
Ginsburg was not one to let political differences affect personal relationships. Ginsburg maintained a friendship with late Justice Antonin Scalia despite their opposing views on many judicial matters. In 1999 she said, “The challenge is to make and keep our communities places where we can understand, accommodate and celebrate our differences while pulling together for the common good. No door should be closed to people willing to spend the hours of effort needed to make dreams come true.”