Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87, setting stage for major battles over US Supreme Court

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(TMU) –  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87, bringing to an end a long career that saw her rise to the level of a national legal icon who was known to liberal supporters as the “Notorious RBG.”

Ginsburg died at her home after an ongoing battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court announced.

The Brooklyn-born jurist is most well known for her work laying the groundwork for settled case law in relation to women’s rights, specifically through landmark cases argued before the Supreme Court regarding gender discrimination against both women and men.

She was rewarded for her legal achievements in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, who nominated her to the court, making her only the second woman to serve on the country’s highest legal body. In his announcement, Clinton said that Ginsburg would serve as “a force for consensus-building on the Supreme Court” and would be “too thoughtful” to be tagged either a “liberal” or “conservative.”

In a statement, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts eulogized the late justice as having “historic stature.”

“We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague,” Roberts added. “Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tired and resolute champion of justice.”

With November’s presidential elections looming, Ginsburg’s death is sure to light the fuse for a potentially bruising and harsh political battle over her successor, as well as the future of the nation’s highest court.

Senate Republicans have already issued promises to spend the last days of the Trump administration’s first term waging a battle to fill the Supreme Court vacancy in a bruising confirmation battle that coincides with the ongoing pandemic and the presidential election, further threatening to rock the boat of American governance.

In the meantime, Democrats may be largely powerless to block any attempts by the Trump administration to nominate a third figure to the court, especially after changes in Senate rules that block filibusters on nominations and now only require a majority vote to confirm judicial nominees.

In a list of potential justices presented by the Trump campaign last Wednesday, conservative figures such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and far-right Arkansas Sen Tom Cotton were prominent among the 20 figures named.

Just days before her death, Ginsburg had apparently dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera that said: “My most fervent wish is that i I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

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