Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman ever to sit on the nation’s highest court, died at her home on Friday evening from complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.
Ginsburg had been a United States Supreme Court Justice since 1993 and had previously served on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980.
A champion of women’s rights, Ginsburg left behind a legacy of advocacy, spending much of her early career as a lawyer who fought for gender equality. In Ginsburg’s more than 27 years of service in the Supreme Court, she was known to be a consistently liberal voice on the bench.
Ginsburg’s death has also sparked debate as to not just who will take her place on the court, but who will ultimately appoint her successor. This debate comes as President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are planning to push through a new nominee despite being just six weeks away from the Presidential Election and Ginsburg’s dying wish to not have a replacement appointed until after the election.
Tracy Gottlieb, a professor of journalism and the founding director of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Center for Women’s Studies, talked about how Ginsburg’s death could affect the upcoming presidential election.
“It seems to me that there is a possibility that the nomination of a new justice could energize the ultra conservative base that President Trump relies upon, but it could also energize the more liberal base that Vice President Biden is counting on,” Gottlieb said. “So it really remains to be seen how this will play out in the weeks to come.”
Gottlieb also brought up Ginsburg’s legacy and the impact she has had on gender equality in the United States.
“As a woman, a feminist and a believer in equal rights for women, there’s no better champion,” Gottlieb said. “We have lost a towering figure and it is a tremendous loss to all of America but especially to the women who counted on RBG to pave the way in terms of equal rights.”
Students shared what Ginsburg’s legacy means to them and their concerns for the country in the wake of her death.
Melanie Liriano, a sophomore speech pathology major, talked about her concerns for the country now that many of Ginsburg’s rulings are now at stake.
“I’m a little nervous about what will happen if we don’t change the course of our country,” Liriano said. “RBG’s seat and rulings are at stake.”
Julia Lomonte, a sophomore creative writing major, had similar concerns to Liriano and discussed her reaction to first hearing the news of RBG’s death.
“When I first found out that RBG passed away, I was immediately shocked and very sad,” Lomonte said. “As a young woman in America, I really admire all she has done and I am definitely concerned for our country's future now that we lost such a determined female figure.”
Eve Krupcheck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.