People across the nation mourned en masse following yet another culturally significant death, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Supreme Court justice and lifelong champion of women’s rights — died at 87 from pancreatic cancer on Friday night.
The longtime justice, who advocated for minority groups and gender equality throughout her tenure, died in her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by her family and loved ones.
Ginsburg’s death alarmed and disheartened countless people, especially those of color, notably as primary elections are only seven weeks away — seemingly generating more critical tension circling the electoral season.
Many are fearful of President Donald Trump’s reassignment of Ginsburg’s position, as this decision will affect numerous Americans in the future.
“Tonight, the country mourns the loss of a great American jurist and a pioneer in the fight for women’s rights and equal justice under the law,” wrote Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America, in a statement following her death. “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American hero and icon who will go down in history as one of the most important voices for justice and progress in the U.S. Supreme Court has ever known.”
Born on March 15, 1933, Ginsburg dedicated a lifetime to prospering in the face of adversity, fighting multiple health crises throughout her life, including being diagnosed with cancer four times.
By being appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg became the second woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, and would go on to serve over 25 years on the federal bench.
The Brooklyn native proceeded to be a leading voice for many, as she battled against gender discrimination and motioned in favor of numerous important cases concerning the advancement of civil rights and women’s interests.
Many people remember, glorify and honor Ginsburg’s legacy as she was viewed as a cultural, legal, and feminist icon. Even her devoted fan base continues to address Ginsburg by the nickname “Notorious R.B.G.”
Controversially, Ginsburg’s position may be reassigned sooner than many would prefer. Some senators have no intention of waiting and will vote upon whoever President Donald Trump nominates.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.
One of Ginsburg’s final requests, shared with her granddaughter mere days before her death, was for her position not to be reassigned until there is a new president. Ginsburg and President Trump previously shared controversy in the media over the years, with Ginsburg calling the then-presidential candidate a “faker” and making other controversial remarks during his 2016 campaign.
It is likely that President Trump will open the floor for voting soon, potentially leaving other political candidates to use Ginsburg’s death as a tactic for their upcoming campaigns.
Senators like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer came to Ginsburg’s defense, with a message substantially similar to McConnell’s own from 2016, who was then aiming to block former President Barack Obama from nominating a potential candidate to fill former Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” said Schumer in his rebuttal to McConnell’s public statement.
Ginsburg has accomplished many significantly remarkable milestones throughout her career. From being a founder and director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, to the first-ever Supreme Court Justice to officiate at a same-sex wedding, Ginsburg’s work has affected an incalculable amount of people.
Although many United States residents are anxiously waiting to see who the government — especially the president — will nominate as the new Supreme Court Justice, the nation remains largely sorrowful in witnessing the death of another ground-breaking figure in American government.