US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies

19 September 2020, 07:16 | Updated: 19 September 2020, 09:47

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died aged 87 at her home
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died aged 87 at her home. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died aged 87, the court has confirmed.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at her home in Washington, the court says.

Ms Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court says.

She was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 and was in recent years renowned as the most senior member of the court's liberal wing.

Young women especially seemed to embrace the court's Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the Notorious RBG, for her defence of the rights of women and minorities, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.

Her health issues included five bouts with cancer beginning in 1999, falls that resulted in broken ribs, insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery and assorted other hospital treatments after she turned 75.

It affords Republicans and US President Donald Trump the opportunity to select a new court judge before the elections in November.

She resisted calls by liberals to retire during Barack Obama's presidency at a time when Democrats held the Senate and a replacement with similar views could have been confirmed.

Instead, President Donald Trump is now expected to push Ms Ginsburg's successor through the Republican-controlled Senate - and move the conservative court even more to the right.

Speculation is mounting about what her death will mean for laws surrounding social issues such as abortion and gay rights, which have been increasingly decriminalised through rulings at the court.

Reports suggest Ms Ginsburg told her granddaughter on her deathbed: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

The US senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said senators will vote on Mr Trump's choice to replace Ms Ginsburg, even though it is an election year.

Mr Trump called Ms Ginsburg an "amazing woman" and did not mention filling her vacant supreme court seat when he spoke to reporters following a rally in Minnesota.

Mr Biden said the winner of the November election should choose Ms Ginsburg's replacement.

"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," Mr Biden told reporters in Delaware.

Former president Barack Obama was among those paying tribute to Ms Ginsburg.

He said: "Over a long career on both sides of the bench - as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist - justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn't about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn't only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It's about who we are - and who we can be."

US chief justice John Roberts also mourned Ms Ginsburg's passing, saying: "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."