Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a feminist icon who championed gender equality and women’s rights, has died due to complications from pancreatic cancer. She was 87 years old, and reportedly died surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C.
"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts 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.”
Remembering the legacy of RBG
Justice Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933, and grew up in a low-income, working-class neighborhood. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell before going on to Harvard and Columbia Law School. When she entered the job market in the 1960s, very few women were hired as lawyers, so she became a professor at Rutgers Law School, where she taught civil procedure and became the first female professor to earn tenure.
Ginsburg was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980, and was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993 — she was the second woman ever to serve. She served on the Supreme Court for 27 years, dedicating her career to fighting for gender equality and reproductive health rights, including the protection of Roe v. Wade.
Few individuals have had such a dramatic and lasting effect as RBG. She inspired a generation of feminists, and leaves a country changed because of her work. It is a legacy that has many mourning her loss.
Will Justice Ginsburg be replaced during an election year?
According to NPR, Ginsburg’s last statement, said to her granddaughter Clara Spera, was, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” However, the ramifications of Ginsburg’s death in the middle of an election year are significant, and there is obvious concern for who will fill her vacancy.
Even though Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee during the 2016 election year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that if a vacancy occurs during the 2020 election period, he will confirm a nominee. Just last week, President Trump published a list of people he would consider appointing, which included Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz.
McConnell has said that he intends to allow a floor vote to confirm Trump’s nominee, while Democrats believe that the election winner should choose the next justice. There are only 46 days before the Nov. 3 election, so it’s not clear whether an entire confirmation process can be finished during that time. However, if the vacant seat is filled, conservatives will have a 6-to-3 majority in the court, impacting the outcome of future cases that could limit abortion access and overturn the Affordable Care Act.
The decision to replace Ginsburg will come down to our current reps. At this time, many students and young voters have taken to Twitter, with a call to contact senators demanding they delay the nomination until after the election.
1. Call your Senators & demand they delay the nomination: https://t.co/Qc9XJnDBKG
2. Pledge to vote them out & take to the streets: https://t.co/7qk8lrfhXY
3. Join our team to call voters in key elections: https://t.co/sA6OrZF6Tj
4. Nuke the filibuster.
5. Expand the court.
— Sunrise Movement ? (@sunrisemvmt) September 19, 2020
This is a developing story. We will update it as soon as more information is released.