Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the most prominent and liberal members of the Supreme Court, has died at the age of 87.
The nation's highest court announced the tragic news Friday night, stating Ginsburg had died of "complications of metastatic pancreas cancer."
"Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement to the New York Times. "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."
Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, making her the second female Supreme Court justice, following Sandra Day O'Connor. Her success in shattering glass ceilings and her relentless fight for individual rights, propelled her into pop culture icon status. Ginsburg was the subject of multiple films, had toy figurines made in her likeness, and was widely known as the "Notorious RBG"—a play on fellow Brooklynite Biggie Smalls' alternative stage name.
Ginsburg had struggled with health issues over the past couple of decades. She had suffered broken ribs, had two malignant nodules removed from her left lung, and was treated for cancer on four separate occasions; the first of which was in 1999, when she was diagnosed with colon cancer.
In recent years, Ginsburg would speak openly about her efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which was pleasant news for many Democrats who feared her death would allow President Donald Trump to fill a third Supreme Court seat. Ginsburg seemingly had the same concerns.
"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," Ginsburg said to her granddaughter Clara Spera just days before her death.
If Trump manages to fill the vacant seat, he and the Republicans will secure a 6-3 conservative majority. Ginsburg's death comes less than two weeks after the president expanded his list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Additions include Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and Florida Supreme Court Justice Carlos Muñiz.
According to ABC News, Trump is expected to announce a nominee in the upcoming days; however, there is a debate among Republican senators on whether they will fill a vacancy before the next inauguration. Journalist Yashar Ali points that there are three GOP leaders who said previously that they oppose a Supreme Court appointment in 2020.
He also points out that if Mark Kelly wins the senate race in Arizoan, he could be sworn in as early as November 30, making him a possible swing vote when it comes to filling the open seat.
Here's Trump finding out about her death in real time.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) had indicated that he would not move to confirm a nominee to any 2020 Supreme Court vacancy.
But he has since changed his tune.
In fact, shortly after her death, McConnel confirmed that Trump’s nominee would receive a vote, despite the fact that Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland was vetoed just months before the 2016 election.
Following news of her death, reactions and official statements from many notable figures in Washington rippled across social media.