In this file photo taken on September 29, 2009 US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses during a group photo in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. (File photo: AFP)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died, the Supreme Court said Friday.
The second female justice on the U.S. highest court, Ginsburg, 87, was a legal pioneer advocating gender equality. She was appointed in 1993 by then President Bill Clinton and has over the years become the most senior member of the court's liberal wing.
"Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," said Chief Justice John Roberts. "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."
The vacancy Ginsburg left enables President Donald Trump to tap a replacement -- the third Supreme Court justice nominee during his presidency -- that may swing the bench further to the conservative side.
However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said shortly after the announcement of Ginsburg's death that the Senate should wait until the next president assumes office to fill the seat left by the late justice. The presidential election will be held on Nov. 3.
"The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," Schumer said in a tweet.
Ginsburg has a long history of health problems, having been battling various cancers since 1999, when she was diagnosed with colon cancer.
The late justice underwent a surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2009, had two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung in December 2018, and received additional treatment for the pancreatic tumor in August 2019.
Ginsburg told U.S. media in early January that she was "cancer free," but in July she was treated for liver cancer.