Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87. The Supreme Court Justice and fighter for gender equality had been battling pancreatic cancer and her cause of death is said to be related to complications from the disease. Chief Justice John Roberts released a statement confirming the death through the Supreme Court, noting she died at her home in Washington with her family.
"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice Roberts said. "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 tired and resolute champion of justice."
Ginsburg helped lead the fight for women's rights in the 1970s according to NPR before serving 27 years on the Supreme Court. And while she leaves behind a storied career and success as a champion for women, she also leaves behind a political void that will soon devolve into a battle in Washington, D.C. heading into the 2020 election.
She was aware of the impact her death would have, though. According to NPR, days before her death she dictated a statement to granddaughter Clara Spera that announced her final wishes from the SCOTUS bench. "My most fervent wish is that i I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," the statement read.
Ginsburg's intention was to make it past the election and continue on. She almost made it, too, despite the disease she faced and numerous trips to the hospital over the past few years. Her first major impact as part of the court was authoring the majority opinion that declared the Virginia Military Institute could no longer bar women from joining. If they were able to pass the rigorous demands of the school, they should be allowed to attend.
"Reliance on overbroad generalizations ... estimates about the way most men or most women are, will not suffice to deny opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description," Ginsburg wrote at the time. She earned a "tough as nails" reputation according to NPR and grew to be an icon for women across the globe. She became the subject of the documentary Notorious RBG, had her story and struggle for equal rights told in the film On The Basis of Sex, and was soon a topic for sketches on Saturday Night Live. Ginsburg reportedly enjoyed the touches of fame and realized the prestige of her role as one of four women to sit on the Supreme Court.