WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — In the days before her death, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter that focused on her desires.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," Ginsburg said to her granddaughter Clara Spera, according to NPR.
Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87. She died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said in a statement.
Her death just over six weeks before Election Day is likely to set off a heated battle over whether President Trump should nominate, and the Republican-led Senate should confirm, her replacement, or if the seat should remain vacant until the outcome of his race against Democrat Joe Biden is known.
Chief Justice John Roberts mourned Ginsburg’s passing. “Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. 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,” he said in the statement.
Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.
She spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s liberal wing and became something of a rock star to her admirers. Young women especially seemed to embrace the court’s Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the "Notorious RBG," for her defense of the rights of women and minorities, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.