Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday, September 18, the day after Constitution Day, after long health battles, including cancer, and a distinguished legal career. She was 87.
Justice Ginsburg became the second woman in history to serve on the Supreme Court, following her appointment in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She had made a good name for herself as a champion for women’s rights and was confirmed by a Senate vote of 96-3. When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006, Ms Ginsburg was the only woman serving on the high court.
People occasionally described her as the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s rights movement, based on her work as a litigator and director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union during the 1970s. Like Justice Marshall did as a litigator with racial discrimination, she was known for her careful selection of cases in convincing an all-male Supreme Court, one case at a time, to recognize discrimination on the basis of sex.
As part of the minority liberal bloc of the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg often wrote strong dissenting opinions that spoke for the other three.
Her death is sure to spark a political battle, given President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate and Senator Mitch McConnell’s expressed desire to confirm a replacement before the election. Although it is a president’s place to nominate a justice and the Senate’s duty to confirm such a nomination, no one can forget the senator’s insistence that Merrick Garland, a nominee of President Barack Obama nine months before an election, not be given a hearing in the Senate until after the election.