U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the leading progressive on the nation’s highest court, died Friday due to complications from pancreatic cancer. She was 87.
Ginsberg was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the court in 1983 and quickly became a cult hero among liberals for her outspoken support of their causes.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in announcing her death. “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.”
Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003, is a conservative but has become a swing vote in several high-profile cases during his tenure, including a 5-4 ruling that decided former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was constitutional and another protecting the children of immigrants from deportation from the Trump administration.
Ginsburg’s death sets up an almost certainly contentious fight between Democrats and President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans over her replacement with the presidential election less than two months away.
Four years ago, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of liberal Merrick Garland from filling the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court during a presidential election year, saying voters should be given the choice of who should pick the nominee.
But McConnell has said that he would push through a Trump nominee if given the opportunity.