Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized With 3 Broken Ribs
WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized on Thursday morning with three broken ribs after falling in her office on Wednesday evening, a spokeswoman said.
Justice Ginsburg, 85, went home after her fall, but experienced discomfort during the night. She was admitted to George Washington University Hospital, where doctors found three broken ribs on her left side, Kathy Arberg, a Supreme Court spokeswoman, said in a statement.
The next sitting of the Supreme Court begins Nov. 26, and Justice Ginsburg’s history suggests the injuries are not likely to keep her away. She broke two ribs in 2012, without missing work. And she returned to work quickly after undergoing a heart procedure in 2012. She is also a cancer survivor and returned to work less than three weeks after having surgery.
Still, even with her resilience, liberals have become jittery about how much more time she will be able to serve, particularly with the balance of the Supreme Court shifting to the right because of President Trump’s appointment of two conservative justices. Justice Ginsburg is the senior member of the court’s liberal wing. A third Trump appointment to the court would give it a dominant 6-to-3 conservative majority.
Broken ribs are usually painful, and could puncture the lung, depending on the specifics of the break. Ms. Arberg, the court’s spokeswoman, did not provide additional details about how Justice Ginsburg fell or whether she fell because of another medical condition. Broken ribs typically take about six weeks to heal, but it varies from case to case.
By midday, Mr. Trump had not publicly commented on Justice Ginsburg’s hospitalization. In the morning, the president attended a formal ceremony at the Supreme Court for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was sworn in last month. All of the other justices were there except for Justice Ginsburg.
Mr. Trump has been critical of Justice Ginsburg, saying in 2016 that “her mind is shot” and suggesting that she resign. His sharp words came after Justice Ginsburg mocked Mr. Trump in a series of interviews. She later said she had made a mistake in publicly commenting on a candidate and promised to be more “circumspect” in the future.
Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and is its oldest justice. She has said that she will stay for as long as she is healthy and mentally sharp.
Originally from New York, Justice Ginsburg speaks with a hint of a Brooklyn accent and once described herself as “this little tiny little woman.” She is known for her lifetime of work fighting for women’s rights and gained social media popularity in recent years with her own meme and nickname, “Notorious R.B.G.” She was the subject of a documentary over the summer, and Hollywood is making a movie from her life story.
In 2013, some liberals pressured her to step down so that President Barack Obama could name her successor. In an interview at the time, Justice Ginsburg said that she would not base her retirement plans on who was currently in the Oval Office. She said she would stay put “as long as I can do the job full steam, and that, at my age, is not predictable.”
Earlier this year, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 81, announced his retirement. He had been a critical swing vote, generally voting with the court’s conservatives but at times embracing liberal views in major cases.
Mr. Trump and Republican allies had hoped Justice Kennedy would step down so that a more conservative justice could be put in place while Senate Republicans were in the majority. Justice Kennedy was replaced by Justice Kavanaugh, one of his former clerks. The Kavanaugh nomination proceedings were the most contentious in decades.
A hospital spokeswoman on Thursday directed questions about Justice Ginsburg’s condition to the Supreme Court’s press office.
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