Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice, Dead at 87

A trailblazer for women in law, Ginsburg died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at age 87.

"Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer," the Court said in a statement to CBS News.

NPR reported that days before her death, Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

In early July, Ginsburg was hospitalized for a possible bladder infection. It was later confirmed that she underwent treatment for cancer. 

Ginsburg was also hospitalized in May for a reported gallbladder condition. The legal eagle struggled with her health over the years but had successfully battled pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer. In 2018, Ginsburg was hospitalized for broken ribs after suffering a falling in her office.

A notable liberal voice on the SCOTUS, Ginsburg delivered groundbreaking decisions on several landmark cases such as the United States v. Virginia, a 1996 case that ended the all-male-admission policy at a Virginia military school, the 2015 ruling that made same sex marriage legal in all 50 states, the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case that struck down Texas abortion restrictions, and the 2020 DACA decision blocking President Donald Trump from dismantling the Dreamer’s Act. 

A staunch women’s rights advocate, Ginsburg was appointed to the SCOTUS in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, becoming only the second woman to be voted into the nation’s highest court. Years before she joined the SCOTUS, Ginsburg won a high-profile case in the Supreme Court involving gender discrimination within the Social Security Act.

Though Ginsburg endured gender bias throughout her law career, she broke barriers for women in the law field, and made history as the first tenured female teacher at Columbia Law School.

Born in 1933, Ginsburg was raised in a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn. She was one of two daughters born to Celia and Nathan Bader, and adored her mother, who installed in her independence and educational values. “My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent,” Ginsburg once said. 

After graduating from James Madison High School, Ginsburg went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1954. That year, Ginsburg married fellow law student Martin D. Ginsburg with whom she welcomed two children. 

As the couple built their family and careers, Martin was diagnosed with cancer in 1956. Ginsburg, who was a new mother at the time, and Harvard law student, took notes for her husband while he underwent treatment. The couple remained married until Martin’s death from cancer in 2010. 

Ginsburg is survived by her two children, James and Jane, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.