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Politicians, celebrities react to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death

Chief Justice John Roberts called his colleague RBG a 'tireless and resolute champion of justice.'

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Serving as a Supreme Court justice for 27 years, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became only the second woman to hold a seat on the high court's bench after being sworn in during President Bill Clinton's administration in 1993.

On Friday evening, the longtime judge was surrounded by her family when she died at her home in Washington, D.C., after complications of metastatic pancreas cancer.

Celebrities and politicians reacted to the news of her death through public condolences as well as social media posts.

Chief Justice John Roberts addressed her death in a statement from the Supreme Court. 

“Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague," Roberts said. "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.”

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President Donald Trump, who was giving a speech during a campaign rally in Minnesota when the news broke, was told of her death by the White House press pool.

"She just died? Wow. I didn't know that. She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life," Trump said

In a statement, the president called Ginsburg a “titan of the law." Trump said she was “renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court” and she demonstrated “that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view.”

Trump did not mention whether he’d nominate a new justice, though he had boasted in his campaign event speech that the next presidential term could offer him as many as four appointments to the nine-member court.

His election rival this year, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, mentioned how then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick was held up in the Senate before the last presidential election. 

"The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice. This was the position the Republicans took in 2016," Biden said.

Calling Ginsburg a “beloved figure,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware: “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 says he hopes the coming days are about “the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy.” Biden chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993 when Ginsburg was confirmed.

Lindsey Graham, the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, offered his thoughts and prayers to Ginsburg's family.

"Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer who possessed tremendous passion for her causes. She served with honor and distinction as a member of the Supreme Court," the South Carolina senator said. "While I had many differences with her on legal philosophy, I appreciate her service to our nation."

Credit: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
In this Jan. 30, 2018 file photo Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waves in acknowledgement of the applause she receives as she arrives for a "fireside chat" in the Bruce M. Selya Appellate Courtroom at the Roger William University Law School in Bristol, R.I.

Former first lady and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reacted to the news on Twitter.

"Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG," Clinton tweeted.

Clinton's husband, who nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Supreme Court in 1993, called her “one of the most extraordinary justices ever to serve."

In a statement late Friday after her death was announced, President Clinton said she was “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.”

Ginsburg’s appointment was the first high court pick by a Democrat in 26 years, and Clinton said her years on the court “exceeded even my highest expectations when I appointed her.”

He said her landmark opinions advanced “gender equality, marriage equality, the rights of people with disabilities, the rights of immigrants, and so many more.”

Just as notable, he said, were her dissents, “especially her ringing defense of voting rights and other equal protection claims” that he said “reminded us that we walk away from our Constitution’s promise at our peril.

In a statement, former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura said Ginsburg "dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls."

Former President Jimmy Carter said he and his wife, Rosalynn, are saddened Ginsburg's death, and praised her as a “beacon of justice” over a long and remarkable career. 

Carter said in a statement that he was proud to have appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980. He called Ginsburg “a powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality.”

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Actress Mindy Kaling called Ginsburg "the kind of scholar and patriot you get excited about explaining to your kids. The kind of person who you say 'who knows, one day you could be HER.'"