Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies

Photography by Rod Lamkey Jr. and Pete Marovich

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, died as a result of complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas at her home in Washington, D.C., on September 18, 2020 surrounded by family. She was 87.

Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Ginsburg served 27 years on the Supreme Court. 

Ginsburg earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University before starting law school at Harvard, where she was one of just a few women in her class. After transferring to Columbia Law School, she graduated joint first in her class, but was unable to secure a job as an attorney due to her being a woman. She became a professor at Rutgers Law School in 1963, teaching civil procedure. At the time she was one of the few women professors in law.

Within hours of her death, a spontaneous vigil began to take place on the steps of the Supreme Court with mourners filling the steps leading up to the Supreme Court and spilling across the street during candlelight tribute. By the next day the steps of the Supreme Court were blanketed with flowers, homemade signs and candles left by of mourners who came to pay their respects to the judicial icon affectionately known as The “Notorious R.G.B.” 

Hundreds of mourners again packed the plaza and street in front of the Court on the following night, spilling onto the grounds of the U.S. Capitol for another vigil.

Three days of events honored the pioneer of women’s rights beginning with her casket’s arrival at the Supreme Court. Former law clerks to Ginsburg served as honorary pallbearers and lined the pathway on the steps of the Supreme Court as her casket was carried inside for a service.

After the ceremony, Ginsburg’s casket was moved outdoors in front of the Supreme Court so the public could pay their respects from a distance due to coronavirus pandemic guidelines. 

Ginsburg’s American flag-draped casket laid in repose at the Supreme Court for two full days as a steady stream of mourners lined up to pay their respects.

With a Republican majority U.S. Senate promising to confirm a replacement before the election and President Donald Trump promising his supporters yet another conservative justice on the Supreme Court, her death thrusts the vacancy into the spotlight of the 2020 presidential campaign.


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