WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the US Supreme Court since 1993, died on Friday (Sept 18) at age 87, the court said, 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 of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said in a statement.
Her departure could dramatically alter the ideological balance of the court, which currently has a 5-4 conservative majority, by moving it further to the right.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John 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 tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Mr Trump, seeking re-election on Nov 3, already has appointed two conservatives to lifetime posts on the court, Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Supreme Court appointments require Senate confirmation, and Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans control the chamber.
A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, the court said, but did not specify a date.