Still In Recovery, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Misses Oral Arguments For The First Time

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent from the bench Monday, missing oral arguments for the first time since she joined the court 25 years ago. A Supreme Court spokesperson said that while the 85-year-old justice was not physically present for the arguments, she still was working from home as she continues to recover from last month's surgery.
Ginsburg has always been a hard worker, even when she's faced health problems. Both in 1999 and 2009, when she underwent treatment for colon and pancreatic cancer, she returned to the bench soon after obtaining surgery. In 2012, she cracked two ribs but worked as she healed. That same year, she underwent a heart procedure and was back in court right after. Last November, she returned to work two weeks after falling and fracturing three ribs.
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As the justice was treated for the fractures, her doctors found she had early stage lung cancer. On December 21, she underwent surgery to remove one of the five lobes of her lung. Physicians said the procedure was a success and there's no cancer left in her body. Ginsburg was released from the Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York on Christmas Day.
It's still unclear when Ginsburg will return to the court, but Chief Justice John Roberts she'll be involved fully in the cases. "Justice Ginsburg is unable to be present and will participate in the consideration and decision of today's cases on the basis of the written briefs and the oral argument transcript," he said.
At 85, Ginsburg is the oldest justice on the bench and her health has frequently been a source of concern for liberals worried with the balance of the court. But while President Donald Trump had said in the past he hoped to appoint four Supreme Court justices by the end of his first term, Ginsburg has no plans to retire just yet.
"I'm now 85," she said over the summer. "My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years."
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