Justice Ginsburg

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court has died. She was 87. Ginsburg, who has had numerous recent health scares, died of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton (D) in 1993. She was part of the court’s ‘progressive wing’ and an advocate of the ‘living constitution’ school of jurisprudence. She was a fierce advocate for women’s rights and numerous progressive causes. In recent years, Ginsburg has become a pop-culture phenomenon and has been popularly dubbed “The Notorious R.B.G.”

She is survived by her two children and four grandchildren.

Supreme Court justices are nominated by the president and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Ginsburg’s death, coming only forty-six days before the 2020 presidential election, is likely to lead to a political firestorm. Already, parallels are being drawn with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In 2016, the Republican-led Senate refused to act upon President Barack Obama’s (D) nomination of Merrick Garland. Republican leaders at the time argued that it was inappropriate to act on a Supreme Court nomination in a presidential election year. Ultimately, President Donald Trump (R) nominated Neil Gorsuch to the court and he was confirmed by the Senate. Some Republicans, in a curious bit of historical revisionism, are already claiming that their refusal to act on the Garland nomination in 2016—citing the so-called “Biden Rule” or “McConnell Rule”—only applies when different parties control the White House and the Senate.