NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Court announced.
“Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement. “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 Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest in several battles with cancer.
The 87-year-old had previously vowed to remain on the bench for as long as her health held and she remains mentally sharp. She spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the liberal wing of the court and was affectionately called the “Notorious RBG” for her staunch defense of her beliefs.
Ginsburg has had several battles with cancer, beginning in 1999, and had frequently been hospitalized for a variety of health complications. She also underwent surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009.
Born in Brooklyn, Ginsburg went on to graduate from Cornell in 1954 and attended Harvard Law School before transferring to Columbia, when she moved back to New York.
She was regarded as a trailblazer and, even before she was a Supreme Court Justice, frequently advocated for women’s rights and took on cases that would later go on to help establish constitutional protections against workplace discrimination based on sex. Ginsburg also helped co-found the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and served on the ACLU's General Counsel in the 1970s.
After hearing of her passing, President Donald Trump told reporters, "She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that."
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden learned of Ginsburg's death in Minnesota, where he later told reporters: "My heart goes out to all those who cared for her and care about her and she practiced the highest American ideals as a Justice: equality and justice under the law. Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us. As I said, she was a beloved figure.”
He added that President Trump should refrain from selecting a Supreme Court replacement, and whoever wins the election in November should select the nominee.
“The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said.
Political leaders from across the country continued to mourn Ginsburg on Friday, including 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said the 87-year-old, "paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG."
"Tonight, we mourn the passing of a giant in American history, a champion for justice, a trailblazer for women," said New York Senator Chuck Schumer. "She would want us all to fight as hard as we can to preserve her legacy."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also mourned the loss of a native New Yorker saying, "NY’s heart breaks with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg."
In an interview with WCBS 880, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, "She was soft spoken and slight in stature, but she packed a mighty punch... She will always be, for me, a uniquely American icon. She broke barriers with courage and conviction. She let nothing stop her."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said flags are flying at half staff over the Capitol "to honor the patriotism" of Ginsburg.
"Every woman and girl, and therefore every family, in America has benefitted from her brilliance," she said.
Ginsberg was appointed Judge of the United State Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. She was later appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and though many argued she should retire, remained on the court during President Barack Obama’s administration and until her death during the Trump administration.
According to NPR, just days before her death in 2020, she dictated a statement to her granddaughter: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
While on the Court, the Justice authored "My Own Words" in 2016 — a compilation of her speeches and writings.
A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, the Court said.
Ginsburg is survived by her two children: Jane Carol Ginsburg (George Spera) and James Steven Ginsburg (Patrice Michaels), four grandchildren: Paul Spera (Francesca Toich), Clara Spera (Rory Boyd), Miranda Ginsburg, Abigail Ginsburg, two step-grandchildren: Harjinder Bedi, Satinder Bedi, and one great-grandchild: Lucrezia Spera. Her husband, Martin David Ginsburg, died in 2010.