After 25 years of perfect attendance, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed her first day of argument on January 7 — and was out the rest of the week. But according to NPR, the justice has no signs of cancer, and does not require any additional treatment.
The 85-year-old justice was not on the bench Monday to hear arguments or ask questions involving a case about warning labels on pharmaceuticals, and instead worked from home “on the basis of briefs, filings and transcripts,” a court spokesperson told CNBC. But per NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg is simply resting at home after enduring a series of health-related complications over the past few months: first, a fall in November that left her with three fractured ribs, and then a surgical procedure last month to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung.
Since she was appointed to the bench by President Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg has suffered several serious health issues. In the late 1990s, she battled colorectal cancer; in 2009, pancreatic cancer; and in 2014, she underwent a heart procedure. However, this is the first time she has missed an argument for any reason, excluding recusal. While it is still unclear when Ginsburg will return to the bench, she is reportedly showing signs of improvement.
The justice’s health has been of major public concern over the past few months. With President Trump’s nomination of accused sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh last year, the Supreme court is divided 5-4 between Republicans and Democrats. Were Ginsburg to retire, President Trump would almost certainly appoint her successor to the Supreme Court — a prospect that is extremely concerning, given the last justice he nominated was an accused sexual assaulter.