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Sparking a swift flood of condolences along with fear for what the future holds, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in her home Friday evening, surrounded by family, due to “complications of metastatic pancreas cancer” at the age of 87.
Since Ginsburg was nominated to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, she has gained global notoriety for her impact on gender equality and civil liberties in the United States, with fans affectionately nicknaming the tireless and trailblazing justice “Notorious RBG.”
Her death, which comes after a series of recent health scares that provoked public alarm, means that President Donald Trump may have the opportunity to name her successor, with help from the Republican-controlled Senate, in the weeks before the November 3 general election.
In the days before her death—which will undoubtedly spur more political chaos ahead of an election with incredibly high stakes—Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
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Social media and news sites on Friday quickly filled with calls for honoring RBG’s dying wish—and concerns about what it will mean for the country if Trump and the Senate force through another nominee—but also touching tributes to Ginburg, long celebrated as a feminist icon.
“The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a tremendous loss to our country,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “She was an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights, and will be remembered as one of the great justices in modern American history.”
“Ruth Bader Ginsberg, deliberate and dedicated in her craft, created a more just world,” declared Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). “5’1″ in stature, she stood as a giant for justice and equality. In her name we press on. We must turn our collective grief into action. Do not let up for a moment. Our democracy is at stake.”
RIP RBG and god help us all
— Krystal Ball (@krystalball) September 18, 2020
Lord have mercy.
May Ruth Bader Ginsburg Rest In Peace.
May we not be in peace until we defeat the fascist in the White House.
Mitch McConnell gonna try to push this through. We need to organize.
Officially CODE RED. https://t.co/fojTGdG80Z
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) September 18, 2020
And now we fight.
For Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
We fight. Just like she did. pic.twitter.com/xjVPOTqD3P
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) September 18, 2020