NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a longtime member of the United States Supreme Court, has died at the age of 87, the Supreme Court confirmed in a statement.
Ginsburg has been a justice on the nation's highest court since being appointed by President Bill Clinton. She was just the second woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague," Chief Justice John Roberts said. "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.”
Justice Ginsburg has been in and out of the hospital for the last several months as she battled metastatic pancreas cancer. Despite her multiple battles with cancers, Ginsburg remained active on the bench, and participated in a number of important rulings over the summer.
She died in her home surrounded by family, the Supreme Court said in a statement. The day before her passing, Ginsburg was honored by the National Constitution Center, receiving the Liberty Medal.
President Donald Trump learned of her death from reporters after leaving a rally in Minnesota.
"She just died? Wow. I didn't know that," Trump said."She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that."
Trump's opponent in the November election, Joe Biden, also reacted to her death.
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us," Biden said. "She fought for all of us. As a young attorney, she persisted through every challenge that an unequal system placed in her way to change the laws of our land and lead the legal charge to advance equal rights for women. It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court. In the decades since, she was consistently and reliably the voice that pierced to the heart of every issue, protected the constitutional rights of every American, and never failed in the fierce and unflinching defense of liberty and freedom. Her opinions, and her dissents, will continue to shape the basis of our law for future generations."
Several former presidents reacted to Ginsburg's death on Friday.
"Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," President Jimmy Carter said. "A powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality, she has been a beacon of justice during her long and remarkable career. I was proud to have appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980. We join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a truly great woman. We will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
"Laura and I join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg," President George W. Bush said. "She dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls. Justice Ginsburg loved our country and the law. Laura and I are fortunate to have known this smart and humorous trailblazer, and we send our condolences to the Ginsburg family."
Here in Tennessee, multiple lawmakers reacted to her passing. Senator Marsha Blackburn said she was grateful for her service to the country.
“Justice Ginsburg was a smart, talented trailblazer who paved the way for women in the judiciary. She worked hard to achieve prominence on her own merit, and I thank her for her service to our country. My condolences go out to her family and friends in the wake of this loss.”
Rep. Jim Cooper applauded her fight and said he hopes her last wish will be respected.
"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the greatest. What a life. She was a fighter. Her calm, thoughtful, informed approach to every decision she made from the bench was an inspiration to us all. I hope and pray the President and Sen. McConnell respect the last request of this American patriot: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini released the following statement:
We are heartbroken to hear of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a towering jurist and an empowering figure for the most vulnerable. She was a kind and gentle soul who never shied away from a fight for what’s right. The country was fortunate to have Ruth Bader Ginsburg for as long as we did. Her contributions made the United States a more just and equitable place. Today we lost the best of America. But it’s not just the nation that is forever changed by her service and her commitment to uphold our Constitution and the progress it demands. Everyday we see women stepping up to stand on her shoulders and continue her fight. We honor her legacy, we are grateful for her work, and we are fortunate to watch the impact her life has had, and will have, on future generations. L’Shana Tovah, Justice Ginsberg, and may God rest your soul.”
Ginsburg's death and what becomes of her seat will certainly become a political battle, much like what happened in the weeks and months following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. Scalia's death, which came nine months before the presidential election, became a focal point of that year's election. President Barack Obama attempted to fill the seat, but Republicans in the Senate blocked the appointment.