A fierce champion of women's rights and gender equality, the revolutionary figure finally lost her decades-long battle with cancer.
US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, popularly known as RBG, passed away on Friday, September 18, due to complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. She was 87 years old. Her death was announced by the Supreme Court.
She died in her Washington D.C. home, surrounded by her family. "Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement released by the court. "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," reports npr.org.
In July 2020, Ginsburg had announced that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for a recurrence of cancer, according to CNN, but she was confident that she will be able to continue her work and will be "fully able" to serve her duties. Ginsburg has had a long history with cancer, dating as far back as to 1999, when she faced a bout of colon cancer. But the true fighter that she is in her work reflected in her fight against cancer too.
Standing at a petite 5 ft, she never let people take her diminutive figure and soft voice on face value. She was a fierce champion of women's rights and gender equality, and a feminist icon. As only the second woman to have been appointed as a justice on the nation's highest court, Ginsburg had to wade through decades of blatant sexism in her career. She attended both Harvard and Columbia law schools and was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, according to Fox News.
Even though she graduated at the top of her class, she didn't have it easy because the doors to law firms were closed for women, and though recommended for a Supreme Court clerkship, she wasn't even interviewed, reports NPR. Thus began her crusade to have not just her voice but that of all women heard in what was a male-dominated world. Her quick wit and sharp tongue soon earned her the moniker of "Notorius RBG" in pop culture. Among her most notable cases was United States v Virginia, which struck down the men-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute.
Her marriage with Martin "Marty" Ginsburg, who passed away in 2010, was also a reflection of equal rights for women in society. "What made Marty so overwhelmingly attractive to me was that he cared that I had a brain," she had once said about her husband who she met while she was a student at Cornell University. The couple shared all the house work, and Marty did most of the cooking because he "learned very early on in our marriage that Ruth was a fairly terrible cook and, for lack of interest, unlikely to improve," according to BBC.
Tributes poured in for the beloved firebrand who has been the subject of many bestselling novels, sketches, and even an award-winning biopic.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored. My statement: https://t.co/Wa6YcT5gDi— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 19, 2020
I asked: When the time comes, what would you like to be remembered for?— Irin Carmon (@irin) September 19, 2020
"Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has." pic.twitter.com/MYXf8Rnanb
We will never forget Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice. #RBG was a champion for justice and she cleared the way for gender equality so other women can have a seat at the table. Her legacy will live on.— UN Women (@UN_Women) September 19, 2020
Rest in power 🖤 pic.twitter.com/wjNoYq3IlG
She had famously said shortly before her death that she wishes to not be replaced until a new President takes office.
Justice Ginsburg dictated a statement before her death: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." https://t.co/XLzhPiLSng— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) September 18, 2020
Ginsburg is survived by her two children Jane and James.
RIP, RBG. She once said "I do think I was born under a very bright star," and we believe that your star will be shining bright for centuries to come.