The Supreme Court has announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died aged 87 after a battle with metastatic pancreas cancer.
Ginsburg was only the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.
While surrounded by her family, she passed away at her home in Washington D.C.
Ginsburg served for 27 years and had several bouts of cancer after first being diagnosed in 2009.
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She announced in July she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver.
Her death paves the way for Donald Trump to expand his conservative majority on the Supreme Court ahead of November’s election.
Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s four-member liberal wing, voiced concerns about the political impact of her passing in the days leading up to her death.
‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,’ the legal pioneer said in a statement dictated to her granddaughter Clara Spera days before her death.
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Chief Justice John Roberts led tributes to his colleague Friday describing her as a ‘champion of justice’.
‘Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,’ Roberts said in a statement.
‘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 tired and resolute champion of justice.’
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Hillary Clinton tweeted that Ginsburg, a staunch advocate for women’s rights, paved the way for other women.
‘Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG,’ Clinton wrote.
Ginsburg’s death gives Trump the opportunity to name her successor at a critical time just six weeks before the nation heads to the polls.
The president has already appointed two members of the Supreme Court, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, in a move that pushes the court increasingly right wing.