By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died after a battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court announced Friday. She was 87.
Ginsburg died in her Washington home from complications from the disease, her latest and final bout with cancer. She was surrounded by family, the court said in a statement. She is survived by two children, four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
Ginsburg's husband, Martin David Ginsburg, died in 2010.
Prior to serving on America's top court, Ginsburg worked as a law professor and was a major women's rights advocate. She was appointed as an appeals court judge in 1980.
Chief Justice John Roberts hailed her as "a jurist of historic stature."
"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," Robert said.
Ginsburg served as the leader among the court's liberal wing after being appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Her death comes six weeks before Election Day, and is likely to set off a vicious battle as US President Donald Trump is set to rush to fill her vacancy in the Republican-controlled Senate before Nov. 3 when the presidency and chamber could change hands.
In his first term, Trump has already appointed two conservative Justices: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The men are the two youngest serving justices on the court, meaning their tenure is likely to be long because justices serve without term limits.
And last week the president released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, vowing to pick a nominee for any future vacancies from the 20 he named.
Among those on the list are Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, both of whom have prior experience practicing law.
Even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in 2016 that Supreme Court vacancies should not be filled during an election year -- a bid then to prevent former President Barack Obama from appointing a replacement for conservative justice Antonio Scalia who died that year -- he has since reneged on the statement.
Obama formally nominated Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia, but McConnell at the time said it would be inappropriate to confirm him while the American people were about to vote on the president's successor.
The Senate, under McConnell, took no action on Garland's nomination.