Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died

By Fernando Alfonso III, Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 8:10 a.m. ET, September 20, 2020
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11:34 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

"Notorious RBG" co-author explains Ginsburg’s "superhero status in American culture"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Shana Knizhnik, who created the blog Notorious RBG in 2013 and co-authored a book by the same name, explained why Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and work resonated with young people — and young women, in particular. 

Knizhnik discussed how the blog's name was inspired by the rapper Notorious B.I.G., a Brooklyn native, like Ginsburg.  

“It started out as a joke, right? It was sort of a play on contrasts between this amazing rapper who died very early in life and this diminutive…octogenarian Supreme Court justice,” Knizhnik, a lawyer, told CNN.

She said that Ginsburg served as a role model for many young people. 

“I think that her notoriety, her incredible, superhero status in American culture was something that people were sort of yearning for and especially young people and young women in particular. Because, you know, we just don't have that many role models to look up to who have achieved what she had achieved and also who had fought so much in her own life for the values that we're still fighting for today,” she said.

Ginsburg officiated Knizhnik’s wedding ceremony one year ago today. 

Watch more:

11:47 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Gen Z women reflect on growing up with Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

Tom Brenner/Getty Images
Tom Brenner/Getty Images

For young women, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a role model who demonstrated what‘s possible for them.

Seeing a woman on the Supreme Court was inspirational, and that representation matters, said 20-year-old Eve Levenson, a junior at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Levenson met Justice Ginsburg during her first week of college, she told CNN.

“After [Ginsburg] finished her remarks to the group, I immediately raised my hand to ask a question: ‘What is your advice to women entering male dominated fields?’ Her answer was succinct and powerful: ‘Patience and persistence,’” Levenson said. 

“RBG was one of the main reasons I grew up believing that despite what anybody said about my religion, ethnicity, or gender that I could do anything I set my mind to,” Levenson, who is Jewish, added. “Seeing yourself represented in the highest court of the land is a powerful image.”

Kimberly Collins, a 20-year-old Black woman, is a member of Scales of Justice Academy, a program which exposes underserved girls to the legal profession, she said.

According to Collins, the most profound lesson Ginsburg taught her, “is that the fight for equity and justice is worth every single obstacle and setback,” she said.

“As a woman of color, it was not normal for me to connect or receive this kind of inspiration from the few women that had national platforms,” Collins told CNN. “Yet, I connected with RBG. With her it was different. I knew she was fighting for me.”

Ritika Iyer, a 20-year-old Hindu Indian woman, spoke to Ginsburg’s legacy of dissent.

“RBG taught me that it's ok to disagree and be vocal about it. As a women, I sometimes tend to not want to rock the boat. But the way she would vehemently dissent and refuse to put up with the status quo inspired me to be more vocal about my opinions,” she said.

11:11 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

New York state to honor Ginsburg with a statue in Brooklyn

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will honor the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a statue in Brooklyn, her birthplace.

"This statue will serve as a physical reminder of Justice Ginsburg's monumental contributions to the America we know today and as an inspiration for all," Cuomo tweeted.

Read his message:

11:01 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Here are some of the signs left outside the Supreme Court in honor of Ginsburg

Mourners gathered this morning in front of the Supreme Court to pay tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Last night, hundreds of people showed up in front of the building after news broke that Ginsburg had died.

CNN's Ariane de Vogue shared photos of some of the signs placed at the makeshift vigil:

11:01 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Kamala Harris visited the Supreme Court this morning

From CNN's MJ Lee

A campaign aide said Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff walked down to the Supreme Court this morning following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Mourners have been gathering in front of the building this morning to pay their respects to the late justice.

In a statement released overnight, Harris called Ginsburg "a relentless defender of justice in our country and a legal mind for the ages."

Harris tweeted the following photo from her visit:

11:22 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Trump indicates he will move forward on appointing a nominee for Supreme Court without delay

From CNN's Sam Fossum, Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Ted Barrett

Oliver Contreras/Pool/Getty Images
Oliver Contreras/Pool/Getty Images

President Trump, in his first tweets of the day following the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appeared to indicate that he will move forward on appointing a nominee "without delay." 

".@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!," Trump tweeted.

Some background: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Friday that whomever Trump nominates to replace Ginsburg will get a vote on the Senate floor.

GOP aides are skeptical that there is enough time to confirm a nominee before Nov. 3, given that Supreme Court nominees typically take two to three months to process, according to a review of recent confirmation proceedings.

But that process could be sped up if McConnell, who controls the majority of the chamber, has the votes to confirm a replacement, and there is enough time to confirm someone in a lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections.

11:25 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Flags in Texas to be lowered in Ginsburg's honor, governor says

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gov. Greg Abbott today ordered all Texas flags to be lowered to honor the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

"My heart goes out to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s family, and Cecilia and I are keeping them in our prayers," Abbott said in a statement. "Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer of keen intellect and will be remembered as a judicial giant. She put service above self and leaves behind a grateful nation." 

Abbott's decision to lower the flags follows similar actions from the governors of Kentucky and Connecticut.

11:27 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death could reshape the 2020 campaign

Analysis from CNN's Maeve Reston

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As America mourned the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a brilliant trailblazer for women and an equal rights icon — a fierce new political debate began unfolding Friday evening.

With just 45 days until the election, the battle over who will replace her and when that Senate vote will occur is already reshaping the stakes in more than a half-dozen closely fought Senate races, while galvanizing impassioned voters on both sides of the presidential campaign.

The death of a Supreme Court justice so close to the November election was all but certain to thrust America's culture wars back to the center of the political debate in a year dominated by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

That battle has the ability to breathe new energy into the electorate — activating conservative Republicans who have grown weary of President Trump but view the election as a chance to shape the court, while also mobilizing millions of female voters who are already infuriated by Trump's degradation of women and would view his ability to nominate three Supreme Court justices in a single term as an assault on their values.

Read the full analysis here.

10:08 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Trump talked privately about nominating a female justice before Ginsburg's death

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Before Justice Ginsburg’s death, President Trump had talked privately this summer about the prospect of nominating a female justice in order to boost his support among women voters, people familiar with the conversations said.  

Now that the prospect has become a reality, Amy Coney Barrett’s name has emerged as a favorite after being considered for Trump’s previous Supreme Court vacancies. She was confirmed as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017 after being nominated by the President. 

Advocates pushing for Barrett last time were told by White House officials after Brett Kavanaugh was nominated that she was very much still in the running for another vacancy, according to one person familiar with the conversations. There was a belief among her supporters that Trump favored nominating her to replace a female justice like Ginsburg, the person said. 

Her nomination now is far from assured: Among administration officials, there is a sense they have no room for error given the tight timing and fraught election year politics of this vacancy. 

While Barrett is still a favorite, hers would be a tough confirmation (as it was in 2017) given her opposition to abortion and a devout Catholic faith that Democrats have claimed would color her legal views. 

It’s not clear yet whether Trump and his aides believe a more widely accepted nominee would be a smarter route — or whether such a nominee even exists in the current political climate. 

One official said the President could begin meeting with nominees next week as the White House ramps up its preparations for a confirmation.

Read about other notable names on Trump's list of nominees here.