Mourners Gather on Court Steps in Memory of Ginsberg

Feminist Icon, Author, Supreme Court Justice Dead at 87

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Mourners sit on the steps of the US Supreme Court (1 First St. NE) in vigil after hearing of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Photo: A. Lightman

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg —a trailblazer, feminist icon, author and former law professor —has died at 87 due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer.

Mourners gathered to lay flowers on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States (1 First St. NE) the evening of Friday, Sept 18 as they heard the news. The crowd was largely quiet, but for moving moments of unity as hundreds joined in singing “America the Beautiful” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” together at the base of the steps.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her 2016 portrait. Photo: Supreme Court of the United States

Ginsburg was a trailblazer and feminist icon who fought for women’s rights before the Supreme Court 6 times between 1973 and 1978.

Her death “leaves a hole in a nation already reeling,” wrote former news anchor Dan Rather on Twitter, calling on those left behind to “carry forth her legacy of equality and justice.”

Ginsburg was only the second woman appointed to the US Supreme Court, where she served for 27 years. Chief Justice John G. Roberts called her “a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980.

She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980, going on to serve more than 40 years as a Judge and a Justice.

While on the Court, the Justice authored My Own Words (2016), a compilation of her speeches and writings.

She is survived by two children, 6 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a nation in mourning.

On Friday night, many of them were headed to the Supreme Court to pay their respects.