Appeals Court Judge Reinhardt, 87, known as the 'liberal lion,' dies: court
FILE PHOTO: Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt listens to arguments at the 9th District Court of Appeals in San Francisco December 6, 2010. REUTERS/Eric Risberg/Pool

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a liberal icon who sat on the bench for 37 years, died on Thursday, the court said. He was 87.

Reinhardt died of a heart attack while visiting his dermatologist, the United States Ninth Circuit said in a brief statement on its website.

“As a judge, he was deeply principled, fiercely passionate about the law and fearless in his decisions. He will be remembered as one of the giants of the federal bench. He had a great life that ended much too soon,” the court said.

Reinhardt was nominated by President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, in 1979. Known as the “liberal lion,” Reinhardt recently wrote the court’s opinion striking down California’s same-sex marriage ban and an opinion in which he described President Donald Trump’s immigration policy as “inhumane.”

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Michael Perry