American justice icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead. The oldest female Supreme Court judge in the United States, the Supreme Court, died Friday at the age of 87 from cancer. She died with her family.
The Supreme Court has a formative role for society and politics in the US. The court hears highly controversial issues such as abortion, gun laws, equality and immigration. It is not uncommon for the nine judges to have the final say in disputes over laws and orders that set course. The decisions taken are often of national importance and shape the interpretation of laws in lower courts over years, sometimes decades.
Ginsburg held her office at the highly political court to the end and was considered the most prominent representative of the liberal wing. She had been treated briefly in the hospital several times that year.
If US President Donald Trump is given the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court judge for the third time in office, he will be able to influence the politically vital court for years to come. The Republican has already shown his determination to try to fill the post of judge in the closing months of his current tenure. “I would. Absolutely. Definitely,” Trump said in a radio interview last month.
Ginsburg was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993 by then-Democratic President Bill Clinton – becoming arguably the most famous judge. The then 60-year-old was the second woman ever to appear in court. Even during her college days, she was one of the few women in a male domain.
Ginsburg made a name for herself with her sharp argument. She was also known as a pioneer in women’s and civil rights. Her life and work has been the subject of several films and books. Many liberals celebrate her as an icon. Her face can be found on souvenirs and as graffiti on house facades.
Ginsburg had to undergo radiation therapy in August 2019 because of a malignant tumor in the pancreas. The year before, she had undergone lung surgery after doctors found two malignant lumps. After several hospital stays, she announced in July 2020 that she had cancer again and was undergoing chemotherapy. She did not take any consequences for her position at the Supreme Court: “I have often said that I will remain a member of the court as long as I can do the work with full force,” she said when the illness was announced.
Filling the post of a Supreme Court Judge is a major political issue. The nomination allows the president to influence the line of the Supreme Court with its nine judicial posts for years, as the judges are elected for life. The Supreme Court is already conservatively overweight. With Ginsburg’s death, this could potentially consolidate for a long time.
Five judges are currently considered conservative, after Ginsburg’s death, three remain in the liberal bloc. Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during his tenure. Kavanaugh’s appeal was highly controversial due to allegations of sexual assault in the 1980s. (dpa)