RUTH BADER GINSBURG, the liberal Supreme Court justice and icon of the feminist and progressive movements, has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court announced late Friday. She was 87.
Ginsburg had multiple bouts with cancer that previously required chemotherapy and radiation therapy in recent years. She announced a recurrence of cancer in July and was hospitalized, but said at the time she planned to continue her work on the court and had no plans to leave.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts 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.”
In May, Ginsburg participated in oral arguments before the court from her hospital bed while undergoing a procedure for a gallbladder condition.
The justice’s death creates a highly consequential vacancy on the high court that will surely come under intense public scrutiny ahead of November’s presidential election.
Ginsburg became a champion of left-leaning political causes and a hero for young feminists due in part to her fierce court opinions. In recent years she has gained a particular cult following shown through the prolific “Notorious RBG” T-shirts and mugs, a play on the rapper and fellow Brooklynite Notorious BIG.