One of the world’s most recognised icons for gender equality and human rights, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away overnight at the age of 87.
“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 studied law at Harvard and completed her degree at New York’s Columbia. She became a leading courtroom advocate for women’s rights before joining the court and subsequently becoming the director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1970s; a position which saw her establish a range of constitutional protections against sex discrimination.
In 1993, she was appointed to the supreme court by President Bill Clinton and held the position through Obama’s tenure and the Trump administration.
In 2016, she controversially spoke up and against Donald Trump, referring to him as “a faker” and called for his resignation.
“He has no consistency about him,” she said. “He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”
Trump lashed out in response, suggesting Ginsburg’s mind was “shot” and directing her to resign.
Though Justice Ginsburg had been struggling with ailing health and a recurrence of pancreatic cancer, she vowed to remain a member of the court for as long as she was mentally able.
“I have often said I would remain a member of the court as long as I can do the job full steam,” she said in July, announcing a recurrence of cancer. “I remain fully able to do that.”
In the days leading up to her passing, Ginsburg reportedly told her granddaughter that her “most fervent wish” was that she “would not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
In recent times, Ginsburg had drawn a cult-like following among millennials who nicknamed her The Notorious R.B.G., a play on American rapper The Notorious B.I.G.
She will be profoundly missed.