Supreme Court Justice Dies at 87
Ginsburg died on Friday, September 18, at her home in Washington, following complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas, the Supreme Court announced in a statement.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said via NPR. “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 tired and resolute champion of justice.”
News of Ginsburg’s death comes after she was hospitalized at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, for a potential infection on July 14. “She was initially evaluated at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. last night after experiencing fever and chills,” spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said in a statement, per CNN.
“She underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August,” Arberg continued. “The Justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment.”
Ginsburg had faced multiple health issues in recent years, including acute cholecystitis, a benign gallbladder condition, for which she was treated in May. She was previously hospitalized after fracturing three ribs in a fall in November 2018 and while undergoing surgery to remove two cancerous nodules in her lung the next month. The beloved political figure also fought cancer four times, most recently in August 2019. Five months later, she revealed to CNN that she was officially cancer-free.
A Brooklyn native, Ginsburg studied at Cornell and graduated from Columbia Law School at the top of her class. She persevered through gender-based discrimination throughout her law career, eventually becoming Columbia Law School’s first female tenured professor. After arguing several gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court, she became the court’s second female justice in 1993, following Sandra Day O’Connor.
Her popularity skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to the “Notorious R.B.G.” meme, the 2018 documentary RBG and the 2018 biopic On the Basis of Sex, in which Oscar nominee Felicity Jones played the justice. In January 2019, the 36-year-old actress told Us Weekly exclusively that she was “insanely nervous” to meet the political icon.
“I felt like I wanted to curtsy,” Jones said. “Ruth was incredibly welcoming. We went to her office first and it felt like a very warm environment – covered in photographs of friends and family and all sorts of mementos that had been sent to her by her fans.”
Throughout her illustrious career, Ginsburg received a number of impressive accolades, including a place among TIME’s Most Influential People of 2015. At the time, her good friend the late Justice Antonin Scalia penned a tribute to his colleague.
“Having had the good fortune to serve beside her on both courts, I can attest that her opinions are always thoroughly considered, always carefully crafted and almost always correct (which is to say we sometimes disagree),” Scalia said of Ginsburg. “That much is apparent for all to see. What only her colleagues know is that her suggestions improve the opinions the rest of us write, and that she is a source of collegiality and good judgment in all our work.”
Ginsburg was married to tax lawyer Martin D. Ginsburg, who died in 2010. She is survived by the couple’s two children, Jane and James, and her four grandchildren.