Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg dies at 87, battle for succession imminent
WASHINGTON (US) – Women’s rights champion and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, said the court. She was 87. Her death gives President Donald Trump a chance to enhance its conservative majority with a third appointment ahead of the polls.
Ginsburg, the hero of liberals in the US, died at her residence in Washington of complications resulting from metastatic pancreatic cancer surrounded by her family, said a court statement.
The court had a 5-4 conservative majority and her death could tilt it towards the right further.
“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.”
The president has already appointed two conservatives to lifetime positions in the court – Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. This requires the consent of the Senate and Republicans have 53 of the 100 seats in the chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Trump said: “She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman.” When he was contesting for the presidential post in 2016, he had demanded the resignation of Ginsburg and said “her mind is shot” after the justice criticised him in media interviews.
Biden has opposed Trump’s bid to send a nominee to the Senate ahead of the vote, saying the winner should be the one selecting Ginsburg’s successor.
“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.
When her death was announced, a large crowd gathered at night outside the Supreme Court complex to pay their respects to Ginsburg. While some lit candles and laid flowers, others waved rainbow flags.
Coming from a working class neighbourhood in New York City’s borough of Brooklyn, she fought sexism in the legal circle to become one of the nation’s top jurists. She was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993. Ginsburg provided key votes in landmark verdicts providing equal rights for women, gays and safeguarding abortion rights.
She had a series of health issues, including bouts with pancreatic cancer in 2019 and lung cancer in 2018. On July 17, she revealed that she was suffering from a recurrence of cancer.