Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Miss Arguments for First Time on Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a lecture September 26, 2018 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. Justice Ginsburg discussed Supreme Court cases from the 2017-2018 term at the lecture. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday will miss oral arguments for the first time as the 85-year-old recovers from surgery to remove cancerous nodules from her left lung.

Ginsburg is recovering from surgery to remove the cancerous lesions undertaken on December 21 and will participate in cases using transcripts, according to Court spokesperson Kathy Arberg. It is unknown when the justice will return to the bench.

The justice was discharged from Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York City on December 25. Doctors found no further evidence of remaining cancerous growths after the surgery, nor did they detect any additional disease.

Despite previous medical issues, Ginsburg, the oldest member of the Court, has never missed an argument.

Ginsburg underwent two cancer surgeries in 1999 and 2009 and has suffered broken ribs on at least two occasions. In 2014, the justice had a stent inserted into her right coronary artery. According to Ginsburg’s doctors, cancerous growths were discovered during treatment for her fractured ribs, which occurred in a November 7 fall at her office.

Following the justice’s hospitalization, President Donald Trump told reporters that he wished her good health.

Ginsburg, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, has dismissed calls to step down during President Barack Obama’s second term, citing a potentially smoother confirmation process with a Democrat-controlled Senate.

The liberal face of the Supreme Court, Ginsburg signaled her aspiration to remain on the bench through 2020 by hiring law clerks for at least two more terms. “I said I will do this job as long as I can do it full steam,” Ginsburg said in a December interview after the screening of On the Basis of Sex, a biopic about the justice’s life.


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