By Abbey Delk
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court, died Friday evening. She was 87.
Ginsburg died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, said the Supreme Court. She had previously battled with cancer, beating colon cancer in 1999 and early-stage pancreatic cancer in the late 2000s, according to the New York Times. Ginsburg also received a coronary stent to clear a blocked artery in 2014.
Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. By the time of her death, she had become the most senior of the court’s liberal wing. Ginsburg became a feminist icon during her time on the court and delivered progressive votes on cases dealing with abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and voting rights, according to CNN.
Chief Justice Roberts, an ideological opponent of Ginsburg on the court, praised her legacy.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” said Roberts. “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.”
Her death comes less than seven weeks before the general elections, which will be held on November 3. As the news of her death reached Americans, partisan fighting erupted over how quickly a new justice to replace her on the bench should be appointed.
Ginsburg, who had held onto her position on the court after the election of President Donald Trump, was adamant that he would not be the one to replace her. “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she told her granddaughter, Clara Spera, only days before her death, according to CNN.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, commended Ginsburg as a “beloved figure” and a “giant in the legal profession” in a brief speech delivered on Friday night. He also firmly asserted that the position she left vacant on the court will not be filled until after the elections.
“But there is no doubt, let me be clear that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said.
Former President Barack Obama also supports delaying the nomination process for a new Supreme Court justice.
“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” said Obama. “A basic principle of the law —and of everyday fairness—is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”
But President Trump has already made clear that he intends to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible. Trump said he expects to announce his nominee within the next week and told a crowd at a campaign rally that his pick “will be a woman.” He has already identified two possible candidates: Judges Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago and Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, according to the New York Times.
Trump also urged the Senate in a tweet to put his nominee through the nomination process “without delay,” clearly hoping to appoint a new justice before the November elections.
“We won and we have an obligation as the winners to pick who we want,” Trump said. “That’s not the next president. Hopefully, I’ll be the next president. But we’re here now, right now, we’re here, and we have an obligation to the voters, all of the people, the millions of people who put us here.”