By Laura Haefeli

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 87 years old.

The leading liberal and longest-serving female justice on the Supreme Court left behind a legacy that had a worldwide impact.

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“To get that news was heartbreaking. It immediately brought tears to my eyes,” Elizabeth Dietzen-Olsen, president of Women Lawyers of Sacramento, said.

A champion for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights, Justice Ginsburg protected the voiceless and was a hero to so many.

“I actually decided to go to law school because of the cases, her cases. The civil rights cases. Free speech. It changed my path,” Dietzen-Olsen said. ”I think about just how impactful she has been to not just women lawyers, but just to society. She changed the way that we talk about gender in this country. How we talk about and treat LGBTQ. How we handle and discuss race.”

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In 2006, Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel argued on the floor of the Supreme Court.

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“For a lawyer, for a litigant, there’s probably no better or higher feeling ever been to be in the regal handsome courtroom. And so close to these legends,” Reichel said

He said it was an intimidating moment with the Ginsburg sitting directly to his left.

“She doesn’t hesitate to interrupt you. She is very prepared, very knowledgeable, very demanding, and she’ll pepper you with questions. Justice Ginsburg is without a doubt probably one of the most significant women in American history,” Reichel said.

“It’s just with so much gratitude and thanks that she dedicated her life. She was such an awesome role model,” Dietzen-Olsen said.

The Supreme Court now has a vacant seat that requires filling. The Republican-controlled Senate will have to approve a nominee.

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