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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10:29 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Former President Clinton calls Ginsburg "one of the most extraordinary justices ever to serve"

Former President Bill Clinton walks with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the way to a press conference at the White House on June 14, 1993.
Former President Bill Clinton walks with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the way to a press conference at the White House on June 14, 1993. David Ake/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton called the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg "a magnificent judge and a wonderful person" following her death today at the age of 87.

"With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, America has lost one of the most extraordinary justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court.  She was a magnificent judge and a wonderful person—a brilliant lawyer with a caring heart, common sense, fierce devotion to fairness and equality, and boundless courage in the face of her own adversity," Clinton said in a statement.

Regarding Ginsburg's tenure on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg "exceeded even my highest expectations when I appointed her," he said.

"Her landmark opinions advancing gender equality, marriage equality, the rights of people with disabilities, the rights of immigrants, and so many more moved us closer to 'a more perfect union,'" Clinton said. "Her powerful dissents, especially her ringing defense of voting rights and other equal protection claims, reminded us that we walk away from our Constitution’s promise at our peril. And she did it all with kindness, grace, and calm, treating even her strongest adversaries with respect."

 

10:30 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff calls Ginsburg's death "a great loss for the country"

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley called Ruth Bader Ginsburg "an exceptional legal scholar, a selfless public servant and a role model" following her death today.

"The death of Justice Ginsburg is a great loss for the country. Our condolences to her children and the scores of people she taught and inspired. She was an exceptional legal scholar, a selfless public servant and a role model," the Joint Chiefs of Staff tweeted tonight.

Read the tweet:

10:09 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Ginsburg remembered on eve of Rosh Hashanah: "She is one of our great American heroes"

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was remembered at an online service on the eve of Rosh Hashanah at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC, according to a congregant.

A photo of Ginsburg was posted during the mourner's Kaddish.

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, whose husband clerked for Ginsburg a decade ago, shared memories of the late Supreme Court justice, the congregant said.

"She imagined the best for our country, she imagined the law being one that would protect all of the American citizens and could also be used as a document to find our North Star," the rabbi said. "At at time when equality was not given to women, she fought for us and she fought for us with grace, with humility, with persistence with chutzpah and with knowing that law better than anyone else."

Holtzblatt then shared a message with the congregation: "I want to ask you tonight as you think over this news and as we all ponder what this means for us in the days and weeks ahead, that we not make this about the year 2020."

"Justice Ginsburg is so much bigger than 2020 and this moment that we are in. She is one of our great American heroes and she asks us to think big, to dream big, to be creators and to live in her legacy of justice."

10:32 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

One item under discussion by Senate GOP: Whether the November election needs 9 justices

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a Republican senate luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, in Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a Republican senate luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While GOP Senate sources believe action on a nominee will likely wait until a post-election, lame-duck session of Congress, it's possible it could be moved up for this reason: The possibility of court fights over the election results and the need for nine justices on the court to resolve any disputes.

A GOP Senate source says this topic will be under discussion with senators as they decide whether to fast-track a nominee before November.

It typically takes two to three months to confirm a nominee. But that process could be sped up if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the votes to confirm a replacement.

Earlier this evening, McConnell said President Trump's nominee to fill her seat "will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

Watch CNN's Manu Raju explain the process:

9:55 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

White House press secretary on Ginsburg's death: "Tonight, we honor her legacy"

From CNN's NikkI Carvajal 

President Trump was "saddened to hear the news" about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said late Friday. 

"I heard him in private quarters say he admired her tenacity — how could you not?" McEnany said during an interview with Fox News shortly after the President commented on Ginsburg's passing for the first time. 

McEnany was effusive in her praise of Ginsberg, saying she "really paved the path" for women in law.

"Tonight, we honor her legacy," McEnany said. "We've lowered the flag to half staff, and I've heard the President say just how much he admired her career and her trajectory." 

Moments after her interview with Fox, CNN's Jim Acosta asked McEnany about filling Ginsburg's seat, but she repeatedly said the White House wanted tonight to be about Justice Ginsburg. 

She also said she had not spoken with Trump sine the news broke of her passing. 

10:13 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Biden: "The voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice"

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18 in New Castle, Delaware.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18 in New Castle, Delaware. Carolyn Kaster/AP

In the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said whoever is elected president in November should pick the nominee to fill her seat.

"There is no doubt — let me be clear — that the voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the senate to consider," Biden said.

Earlier tonight, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Trump's nominee to fill her seat "will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

9:55 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Biden says Ginsburg "practiced the highest American ideals as a justice; equality and justice under the law"

Pool
Pool

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg "not only a giant in the legal profession, but a beloved figure" following her death tonight.

"My heart goes out to all those who cared for her and care about her. And she practiced the highest American ideals as a justice; equality and justice under the law, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us. As I said, she was a beloved figure," Biden said.

Watch:

10:29 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Justice Ginsburg's former law clerk describes what it was like working with her: "She was my idol"

Amanda Tyler, former law clerk for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the late Supreme Court justice was her idol and made everyone do "their best work."

“I think all of us who have had the privilege, and true honor of serving as a law clerk to the justice are just reeling tonight. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to be her law clerk, and it was so extraordinary and have an experience. She was my idol. How many people get to say they work for their idol?” Tyler told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. 

“She was meticulous. She had the highest standards. I like to analogize working for her with being on a sports team, with someone like Michael Jordan. She was so great, that she made everyone do their best work, and be at their best,” Tyler continued. 

According to CNN's Ariane De Vogue, Ginsburg was working on a book with Tyler at the time of her death. It was based on her life on gender equality.

Watch the interview:

9:33 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Mourners are holding a candlelight vigil outside of the Supreme Court

From CNN's David Williams

Kalina Newman
Kalina Newman

Kalina Newman said she was having dinner with her boyfriend in Alexandria, Virginia, when she got the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. She rushed to the Supreme Court when she heard.

“I immediate got my meal packed up, and we went to the grocery store to pick up flowers,” Newman told CNN.

People had already put out signs and candles when they got there.

“As soon as I saw the candles and felt how peaceful it was, I began to cry,” she said.

Newman is the Eastern Regional Communications Coordinator for the AFL-CIO.

“As a young woman with a passion for progressive politics, she taught me to never take no for an answer,” she said when asked what Ginsburg meant to her.

Kalina Newman
Kalina Newman