Image

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. She was 87.

Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and in recent years served as the most senior member of the court's liberal wing, consistently delivering progressive votes on the most divisive social issues of the day, including abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care and affirmative action.

LIVE UPDATES: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died

Her death -- less than seven weeks before Election Day -- opens up a political fight over the future of the court. Addressing the liberal justice's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday evening, "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

But Ginsburg told her granddaughter she wanted her replacement to be appointed by the next president, NPR reported. "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," she dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera days before her death.

"She led an amazing life. What else can you say?" President Donald Trump said Friday evening upon hearing about her death. "She was an amazing woman whether you agree or not she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden praised Ginsburg as a "giant in the legal profession" and a "beloved figure," saying in brief on-camera remarks Friday evening that people "should focus on the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy."

"But there is no doubt, let me be clear that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," he added, saying that was the position of Republicans who refused to vote on then-President Barack Obama's nominee in 2016.

Obama, in a statement mourning Ginsburg, also called for Senate Republicans to uphold the standard they set in 2016 when they blocked his nominee.

"Over a long career on both sides of the bench -- as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist -- Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn't about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn't only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It's about who we are -- and who we can be," Obama said in a statement.

He added, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That's how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored. Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn't fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in.

A basic principle of the law -- and of everyday fairness -- is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what's convenient or advantageous in the moment."

Ginsburg developed a rock star status and was dubbed the "Notorious R.B.G." In speaking events across the country before liberal audiences, she was greeted with standing ovations as she spoke about her view of the law, her famed exercise routine and her often fiery dissents.

"Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," said Chief Justice John Roberts. "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, who died on the eve of the Jewish new year, was surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, DC, the court said. A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

PHOTOS: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Scalia and Ginsburg pose on an elephant during their tour of India in 1994. Scalia once said they were an "odd couple" and he counted her as his "best buddy" on the bench.

Ginsburg, second from left, and Scalia, second from right, appeared in the opening-night production of "Ariadne auf Naxos," an opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1994.

Ginsburg and fellow Justice Sandra Day O'Connor hold basketballs given to them by the US women's basketball team in December 1995.

Ginsburg, front right, poses with other prominent Jewish-Americans while standing in a maze on New York's Ellis Island in 1996. It was part of a project by photographer Frederic Brenner. Also in the front row, from left, are artist Roy Lichtenstein, actress Lauren Bacall, violinist Itzhak Perlman and playwright Arthur Miller.

Ginsburg sits in her Supreme Court chambers in 2002.

Ginsburg makes her way through a crowd after an address at an ACLU conference in June 2003.

Ginsburg and her husband laugh as they listen to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speak at Columbia Law School in September 2003.

 Justice Ginsburg with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at the Department of State on January 28, 2005, the day Justice Ginsburg swore Rice in as Secretary of State.

From left, Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, John Roberts, Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy pose for a photo before meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris in July 2007.

Ginsburg wears a "Super Diva" sweatshirt as she works out at the Supreme Court in August 2007.

Ginsburg talks with filmmaker David Grubin about his PBS series "The Jewish Americans" in 2008.

Ginsburg arrives to a joint session of Congress where President Barack Obama was speaking in 2009. That month, Ginsburg had surgery and treatment for early stages of pancreatic cancer. A decade before, she had successful surgery for colon cancer.

The only women who have become Supreme Court justices pose together in 2010. From left are Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

While standing to receive an honorary degree from Harvard University, Ginsburg was surprised with a serenade from Spanish tenor Placido Domingo in 2011. Domingo also received an honorary degree.

Ginsburg visits with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department in Washington in 2012.

Ginsburg celebrates her 20th anniversary on the bench in Washington, on Friday, August 30, 2013.

President Barack Obama hugs Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington. Ginsburg didn't shy away from fashion. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/21/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-scrunchies/index.html" target="_blank">She often accessorized</a> her black robe with her intricate lace collars and an array of different gloves.

Ginsburg, with an extra from "Carmen," attends the opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 2015.

Ginsburg acknowledges applause before a speaking event in Chicago in September 2017.

Ginsburg arrives to speak at New York University's law school in February 2018.

Ginsburg gives a keynote address at Columbia University in February 2018.

Ginsburg and other Supreme Court justices attend the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House in November 2018.

The US Supreme Court, with newest member Brett Kavanaugh, poses for an official portrait in Washington in November 2018. In the back row, from left, are Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Kavanaugh. In the front row, from left, are Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg and Samuel Alito.

Ginsburg leaves a private ceremony at the Great Hall of the Supreme Court, where former Justice John Paul Stevens was lying in repose in July 2019.

Ginsburg makes her first public appearance since it was announced in August 2019 that she had undergone recent treatment for pancreatic cancer.  While accepting an honorary degree from the University at Buffalo, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/26/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-health/index.html" target="_blank">she made remarks</a> and briefly referenced her health.

In December 2019, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/17/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-donald-trump-lawyer-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">Ginsburg was awarded the Berggruen Institute Prize for Philosophy and Culture.</a> She planned to donate the $1 million prize to a number of organizations that promote opportunities for women.

Ginsburg participates in a discussion about the 19th Amendment at the Georgetown University Law Center in February 2020. The 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen in Washington in 2013. She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg was born Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933. Here she is at 2 years old.

A photo of Ginsburg from her high school yearbook.

Ginsburg, 13, sits immediately to the left of Rabbi Harry Halpern at the East Midwood Jewish Center, a synagogue in Brooklyn, New York, in 1946.

Ginsburg and her cousin Richard ski at a lodge in the Adirondacks circa 1946.

Ginsburg is the maid of honor at a cousin's wedding in 1951.

Ginsburg met her husband, Martin,<strong> </strong>while attending Cornell University, and both went on to study law. The couple were engaged in December 1953.

Ginsburg and her husband married in June 1954. She was 21 at the time.

The couple went on to have two children: Jane, born in 1955, and James, born in 1965.

A portrait of Ginsburg from 1977. At the time, she was a professor at the Columbia University School of Law. She was also a general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ginsburg is joined by family members on the steps of the US Supreme Court after arguing a case there in November 1978. With Ginsburg, from left, are her brother-in-law Ed Stiepleman; her nephew David Stiepleman; and her son, James.

Ginsburg was the first woman to be hired with tenure at the Columbia University School of Law. She also taught at the Rutgers University School of Law.

Ginsburg, her husband and their two children -- James and Jane -- pose for a photo off the shore of St. Thomas in 1979.

In 1980, US President Jimmy Carter nominated Ginsburg to be a judge for the US Court of Appeals' District of Columbia Circuit.

Ginsburg in her chambers at the US Courthouse in Washington.

Ginsburg, her husband and their children vacation in Egypt in 1985.

Ginsburg and her husband take a bus to Paris circa 1988.

Ginsburg reads to a group of children at the 10th anniversary of the TV show "Reading Rainbow" in 1993.

President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg to the US Supreme Court in June 1993. Here, Ginsburg is holding a photograph of Hillary Clinton singing "the toothbrush song" with Ginsburg's granddaughter Clara and her nursery school class.

Ginsburg talks with a reporter after being nominated for the Supreme Court in 1993. On the far right is US Sen. Joe Biden. US Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is wearing the bowtie.

Ginsburg is greeted by her husband during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During her confirmation hearing, Ginsburg holds up a book titled "My Grandma is Very Special." It was written by Paul Spera, her grandson.

Ginsburg takes the Supreme Court oath from Chief Justice William Rehnquist, right, in August 1993. Joining them were Clinton and Martin Ginsburg.

Ginsburg poses with family members at the Supreme Court in October 1993. With Ginsburg, from left, are her son-in-law, George Spera; her daughter, Jane; her granddaughter Clara Spera; her husband, Martin; her son, James; and her grandson Paul Spera.

Ginsburg and her husband embrace while attending an event. The two were married for nearly 60 years. Martin Ginsburg died in 2010.

This informal group photo was taken of the US Supreme Court in December 1993. From left are Clarence Thomas, John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ginsburg and Harry Blackmun.

Scalia and Ginsburg pose on an elephant during their tour of India in 1994. Scalia once said they were an "odd couple" and he counted her as his "best buddy" on the bench.

Ginsburg, second from left, and Scalia, second from right, appeared in the opening-night production of "Ariadne auf Naxos," an opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1994.

Ginsburg and fellow Justice Sandra Day O'Connor hold basketballs given to them by the US women's basketball team in December 1995.

Ginsburg, front right, poses with other prominent Jewish-Americans while standing in a maze on New York's Ellis Island in 1996. It was part of a project by photographer Frederic Brenner. Also in the front row, from left, are artist Roy Lichtenstein, actress Lauren Bacall, violinist Itzhak Perlman and playwright Arthur Miller.

Ginsburg sits in her Supreme Court chambers in 2002.

Ginsburg makes her way through a crowd after an address at an ACLU conference in June 2003.

Ginsburg and her husband laugh as they listen to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer speak at Columbia Law School in September 2003.

 Justice Ginsburg with President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at the Department of State on January 28, 2005, the day Justice Ginsburg swore Rice in as Secretary of State.

From left, Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, John Roberts, Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy pose for a photo before meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris in July 2007.

Ginsburg wears a "Super Diva" sweatshirt as she works out at the Supreme Court in August 2007.

Ginsburg talks with filmmaker David Grubin about his PBS series "The Jewish Americans" in 2008.

Ginsburg arrives to a joint session of Congress where President Barack Obama was speaking in 2009. That month, Ginsburg had surgery and treatment for early stages of pancreatic cancer. A decade before, she had successful surgery for colon cancer.

The only women who have become Supreme Court justices pose together in 2010. From left are Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Elena Kagan.

While standing to receive an honorary degree from Harvard University, Ginsburg was surprised with a serenade from Spanish tenor Placido Domingo in 2011. Domingo also received an honorary degree.

Ginsburg visits with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department in Washington in 2012.

Ginsburg celebrates her 20th anniversary on the bench in Washington, on Friday, August 30, 2013.

President Barack Obama hugs Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015, at the US Capitol in Washington. Ginsburg didn't shy away from fashion. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/21/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-scrunchies/index.html" target="_blank">She often accessorized</a> her black robe with her intricate lace collars and an array of different gloves.

Ginsburg, with an extra from "Carmen," attends the opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 2015.

Ginsburg acknowledges applause before a speaking event in Chicago in September 2017.

Ginsburg arrives to speak at New York University's law school in February 2018.

Ginsburg gives a keynote address at Columbia University in February 2018.

Ginsburg and other Supreme Court justices attend the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House in November 2018.

The US Supreme Court, with newest member Brett Kavanaugh, poses for an official portrait in Washington in November 2018. In the back row, from left, are Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Kavanaugh. In the front row, from left, are Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg and Samuel Alito.

Ginsburg leaves a private ceremony at the Great Hall of the Supreme Court, where former Justice John Paul Stevens was lying in repose in July 2019.

Ginsburg makes her first public appearance since it was announced in August 2019 that she had undergone recent treatment for pancreatic cancer.  While accepting an honorary degree from the University at Buffalo, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/26/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-health/index.html" target="_blank">she made remarks</a> and briefly referenced her health.

In December 2019, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/17/politics/ruth-bader-ginsburg-donald-trump-lawyer-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">Ginsburg was awarded the Berggruen Institute Prize for Philosophy and Culture.</a> She planned to donate the $1 million prize to a number of organizations that promote opportunities for women.

Ginsburg participates in a discussion about the 19th Amendment at the Georgetown University Law Center in February 2020. The 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen in Washington in 2013. She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg was born Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933. Here she is at 2 years old.

A photo of Ginsburg from her high school yearbook.

Ginsburg, 13, sits immediately to the left of Rabbi Harry Halpern at the East Midwood Jewish Center, a synagogue in Brooklyn, New York, in 1946.

Ginsburg and her cousin Richard ski at a lodge in the Adirondacks circa 1946.

Ginsburg is the maid of honor at a cousin's wedding in 1951.

Ginsburg met her husband, Martin,<strong> </strong>while attending Cornell University, and both went on to study law. The couple were engaged in December 1953.

Ginsburg and her husband married in June 1954. She was 21 at the time.

The couple went on to have two children: Jane, born in 1955, and James, born in 1965.

A portrait of Ginsburg from 1977. At the time, she was a professor at the Columbia University School of Law. She was also a general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ginsburg is joined by family members on the steps of the US Supreme Court after arguing a case there in November 1978. With Ginsburg, from left, are her brother-in-law Ed Stiepleman; her nephew David Stiepleman; and her son, James.

Ginsburg was the first woman to be hired with tenure at the Columbia University School of Law. She also taught at the Rutgers University School of Law.

Ginsburg, her husband and their two children -- James and Jane -- pose for a photo off the shore of St. Thomas in 1979.

In 1980, US President Jimmy Carter nominated Ginsburg to be a judge for the US Court of Appeals' District of Columbia Circuit.

Ginsburg in her chambers at the US Courthouse in Washington.

Ginsburg, her husband and their children vacation in Egypt in 1985.

Ginsburg and her husband take a bus to Paris circa 1988.

Ginsburg reads to a group of children at the 10th anniversary of the TV show "Reading Rainbow" in 1993.

President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg to the US Supreme Court in June 1993. Here, Ginsburg is holding a photograph of Hillary Clinton singing "the toothbrush song" with Ginsburg's granddaughter Clara and her nursery school class.

Ginsburg talks with a reporter after being nominated for the Supreme Court in 1993. On the far right is US Sen. Joe Biden. US Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is wearing the bowtie.

Ginsburg is greeted by her husband during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During her confirmation hearing, Ginsburg holds up a book titled "My Grandma is Very Special." It was written by Paul Spera, her grandson.

Ginsburg takes the Supreme Court oath from Chief Justice William Rehnquist, right, in August 1993. Joining them were Clinton and Martin Ginsburg.

Ginsburg poses with family members at the Supreme Court in October 1993. With Ginsburg, from left, are her son-in-law, George Spera; her daughter, Jane; her granddaughter Clara Spera; her husband, Martin; her son, James; and her grandson Paul Spera.

Ginsburg and her husband embrace while attending an event. The two were married for nearly 60 years. Martin Ginsburg died in 2010.

This informal group photo was taken of the US Supreme Court in December 1993. From left are Clarence Thomas, John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ginsburg and Harry Blackmun.

Scalia and Ginsburg pose on an elephant during their tour of India in 1994. Scalia once said they were an "odd couple" and he counted her as his "best buddy" on the bench.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginsburg had suffered from five bouts of cancer, most recently a recurrence in early 2020 when a biopsy revealed lesions on her liver. She had said that chemotherapy was yielding "positive results" and that she was able to maintain an active daily routine.

"I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam," she said in a statement in July 2020. "I remain fully able to do that."

She told an audience in 2019 that she liked to keep busy even when she was fighting cancer. "I found each time that when I'm active, I'm much better than if I'm just lying about and feeling sorry for myself," she said in New York at the Yale Club at an event hosted by Moment Magazine. Ginsburg told another audience that she thought she would serve until she was 90 years old.

Tiny in stature, she could write opinions that roared disapproval when she thought the majority had gone astray.

Before the election of President Donald Trump, Ginsburg told CNN that he "is a faker" and noted that he had "gotten away with not turning over his tax returns." She later said she regretted making the comments and Trump suggested she should recuse herself in cases concerning him. She never did

Hear RBG's most memorable speeches 

In 2011, by contrast, President Barack Obama singled out Ginsburg at a White House ceremony. "She's one of my favorites," he said, "I've got a soft spot for Justice Ginsburg."

The vacancy gives Trump the opportunity to further solidify the conservative majority on the court and fill the seat of a woman who broke through the glass ceiling at a time when few women attended law school with a different justice who could steer the court to the right on social issues.

Ginsburg was well-known for the work she did before taking the bench, when she served as an advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union and became the architect of a legal strategy to bring cases to the courts that would ensure that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection applied to gender.

"I had the good fortune to be alive and a lawyer in the late 1960s when, for the first time in the history of the United States, it became possible to urge before courts, successfully, that society would benefit enormously if women were regarded as persons equal in stature to men,'" she said in a commencement speech in 2002.

Once she took the bench, Ginsburg had the reputation of a "judge's judge" for the clarity of her opinions that gave straightforward guidance to the lower courts.

At the Supreme Court, she was perhaps best known for the opinion she wrote in United States v. Virginia, a decision that held that the all-male admissions policy at the state funded Virginia Military Institute was unconstitutional for its ban on women applicants.

"The constitutional violation in this case is the categorical exclusion of women from an extraordinary educational opportunity afforded men," she wrote in 1996.

Before she was 'Notorious,' she was Kiki

Ginsburg faced discrimination herself when she graduated from law school in 1959 and could not find a clerkship.

No one was more surprised than Ginsburg of the status she gained with young women in her late 70s and early 80s. She was amused by the swag that appeared praising her work, including a "You Can't have the Truth, Without Ruth" T-shirt as well as coffee mugs and bobbleheads. Some young women went as far as getting tattoos bearing her likeness. A Tumblr dubbed her the "Notorious R.B.G." in reference to a rap star known as "Notorious B.I.G." The name stuck. One artist set Ginsburg's dissent in a religious liberty case to music.

"It makes absolute sense that Justice Ginsburg has become an idol for younger generations," Justice Elena Kagan said at an event at the New York Bar Association in 2014. "Her impact on America and American law has been extraordinary."

"As a litigator and then as a judge, she changed the face of American anti-discrimination law," Kagan said. "She can take credit for making the law of this country work for women and in doing so she made possible my own career."

Ginsburg, even after her fifth diagnosis of cancer, was working on a book with one of her former clerks, Amanda Tyler. It was based on her life on gender equality.

Dissents and strategy

Part of Ginsburg's renown came from her fierce dissents in key cases, often involving civil rights or equal protection.

In 2007, the court heard a case concerning Lilly Ledbetter, who had worked as a supervisor at a Goodyear Tire plant in Alabama. Near the end of her career, Ledbetter discovered a pay disparity between her salary and the salaries of male co-workers. She filed a claim arguing she had received a discriminatorily low salary because of her sex, in violation of federal law. A majority of the court found against Ledbetter, ruling she had filed her complaints too late. Ginsburg wasn't impressed with that reasoning.

Meet the woman with Ginsburg tattooed on her arm (2015)

"The court's insistence on immediate contest overlooks common characteristics of pay discrimination," Ginsburg wrote, urging Congress to take up the issue, which it did in 2009.

In 2015, it was Ginsburg who led the liberal block of the court as it voted in favor of same-sex marriage with the critical fifth vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy wrote the opinion and it was joined by the liberals, who chose not to write separately. Ginsburg was likely behind that strategy and she said later that had she written the majority she might have put more emphasis on equal protection.

After the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens, Ginsburg was the most senior of her liberal colleagues and she had the power to assign opinions when the chief justice was on the other side.

She assigned herself an angry dissent when the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

"The sad irony of today's decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective," she wrote. She compared racial discrimination to a "vile infection" and said early attempts to protect against it were like "battling the Hydra."

INSIDE THE LIFE OF A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

CNN Films' "RBG" chronicles the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Watch Saturday, September 19 at 10 p.m. ET.

She also penned a partial dissent in a 2012 case concerning Obama's health care law, disagreeing with the conservative justices that the individual mandate was not a valid exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause. She called the reasoning "crabbed" but was satisfied that Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the fifth vote to uphold the law under the taxing power.

Ginsburg puzzled some liberals with her criticisms of the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion -- a case that was decided well before she took the bench. Although she said she felt like the result was right, she thought the Supreme Court should have limited itself to the Texas statute at hand instead of issuing a sweeping decision that created a target for opponents to abortion rights.

She was in dissent in 2007 when the majority upheld a federal ban on a procedure called "partial birth abortion." She called the decision "alarming" and said that it "tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists."

She voted with the majority, however, in 2016 when the court struck down a Texas abortion law that critics called one of the strictest nationwide.

In July, Ginsburg filed another fierce dissent when the conservative majority allowed the Trump administration to expand exemptions for employers who have religious or moral objections to complying with the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate.

"Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree," Ginsburg wrote, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She observed that the administration had said the new rules would cause thousands of women -- "between 70,500 and 126,400 women of childbearing age," she wrote -- to lose coverage.

Friendship with Scalia

Despite their ideological differences, her best friend on the bench was the late Justice Antonin Scalia. After the conservative's sudden death in February 2016, Ginsburg said he left her a "treasure trove" of memories.

She was a life-long opera fan who appeared onstage in 2016 at the Kennedy Center for a non-speaking role in the Washington National Opera's "The Daughter of the Regiment."

At speaking events she often lamented that while she dreamed of being a great opera diva, she had been born with the limited range of a sparrow.

Her relationship with Scalia inspired Derrick Wang to compose a comic opera he titled "Scalia/Ginsburg" that was based on opinions penned by the two justices.

The actress Kate McKinnon also portrayed Ginsburg -- wearing black robes and a trademark jabot -- in a recurring "Saturday Night Live" skit responding to the news of the day.

Ginsburg suffered two bouts of cancer in 1999 and 2009 and received a stent implant in her heart but never missed a day of oral arguments. She was married to Martin Ginsburg, a noted tax attorney, for more than 50 years until his death in 2010 and they had two children.

"I would just like people to think of me as a judge who did the best she could with whatever limited talent I had," Ginsburg said at an event at the University of California Hastings College of Law in 2011, "to keep our country true to what makes it a great nation and to make things a little better than they might have been if I hadn't been there."

This story has been updated.

Sarah Mucha and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.

Register for comment

Comments

Latest Episode Videos

Tritiyo Matra

Follow us on Facebook