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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies of cancer at 87

FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg looks up as she speaks at the National Constitution Center Americas Town Hall at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. (Source: AP Photo/Steve Helber, File/AP)
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg looks up as she speaks at the National Constitution Center Americas Town Hall at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. (Source: AP Photo/Steve Helber, File/AP)(KKCO)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 6:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2020 at 9:54 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (WBAY) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died, the Supreme Court announced Friday night. She was 87.

The statement from the Supreme Court says Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, DC, surrounded by family. She had been battling metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.

She will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service.

“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “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.”

President Trump released a statement late Friday night that read in part, “Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view. Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds" (you can read the complete statement below).

Ginsburg was the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Born in Brooklyn in 1933, she attended Harvard and Columbia law schools. From 1963 to 1980 she was a professor of law, first at Rutgers University School of Law then Columbia Law School, then in 1980 she was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Ginsburg spent her final years on the high court 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.

Ginsburg was awarded this year’s National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal for her efforts to secure liberty and equality to all people. She did not attend this week’s award ceremony in Philadelphia.

ABC News cites multiple sources close to President Trump saying he’s expected to nominate Ginsburg’s successor in the coming days. The sources describe the list as very short and say it includes at least one woman. Two sources told ABC News U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett is seen as a leading contender. She was a Notre Dame law professor and a law clerk under Justice Antonin Scalia. She was appointed to the appellate court by President Trump.

Earlier this month, Trump said he added 20 names to a list of potential Supreme Court candidates to fill a vacancy, including Republican senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri. The list also included Noel Francisco, the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, and Christopher Landau, the current U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

The last time a U.S. justice died in an election year was 2016. Justice Scalia died in February, and Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold hearings for President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. The seat was vacant for 16 months. Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was sworn in in April, 2017.

Friday night, Senator McConnell vowed President Trump will get to choose a nominee who will go to a vote in the Senate.

Flags began flying at half-staff over the White House and the U.S. Capitol Friday night as messages and memories from current and former politicians came pouring out.

Copyright 2020 WBAY. The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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