Trailblazing US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg dies; succession battle looms
Sep 19, 2020 2 mins, 7 secs

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the US Supreme Court since 1993, died on Friday at age 87, giving President Donald Trump a chance to expand its conservative majority with a third appointment at a time of deep divisions in America with a presidential election looming.

Ginsburg, a champion of women's rights who became an icon for American liberals, died at her home in Washington of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said in a statement.

"Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement.

McConnell's stance is a dramatic reversal from the position he took in a similar situation four years ago, when he refused to act on Democratic President Barack Obama's election-year nomination of centrist appeals court judge Merrick Garland to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

Trump, who as a presidential candidate in 2016 called on Ginsburg to resign and said "her mind is shot" after she criticized him in media interviews, did not mention any potential plans about nominating a replacement.

US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer wrote on Twitter: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.

Soon after her death was announced, a large nighttime crowd gathered outside the white marble neoclassical Supreme Court building to pay tribute to Ginsburg, with some lighting candles, leaving flowers and waving rainbow flags for LGBT rights.

Ginsburg, who rose from a working class upbringing in New York City's borough of Brooklyn and prevailed over systemic sexism in the legal ranks to become one of America's best-known jurists, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Trump on September 9 unveiled a list of potential nominees to fill any future Supreme Court vacancies in a move aimed at bolstering support among conservative voters.

One possible contender on Trump's list is Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative judge on the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals who was under consideration in 2018 before Trump nominated Kavanaugh?

Another Trump appointment would give the Supreme Court a 6-3 conservative majority, meaning that for the liberal justices to prevail in any case they would need to have two of the conservatives join them

Some liberal activists had urged Ginsburg to step down early in Obama's second term to allow him to appoint a younger liberal to replace her who could serve decades on the court

A private interment service for Ginsburg will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, the court said, but did not specify a date


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