Ruth Bader Ginsburg Absent from Supreme Court Arguments Due to Illness
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed oral arguments on Wednesday due to illness.
“Justice Ginsburg is unable to be present today. She is indisposed due to illness, but she will participate in the consideration and decision of the cases on the basis of the briefs and the transcripts or recordings of the oral arguments,” Chief Justice John Roberts said from the bench, Fox News reported.
The cases to be heard on Wednesday were Comcast Corporation v. National Association of African American-Owned Media, et al., and Ritzen Group, Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, LLC.
A court spokeswoman said that Ginsburg was at home with a stomach bug, according to The Hill.
The 86-year-old has overcome two separate health scares over the last year.
Ginsburg was diagnosed and treated for lung cancer in December 2018, which caused her to miss oral arguments for the first time since being appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
She returned to the bench in late February with a reported clean bill of health.
Last summer, a cancerous tumor was found on Ginsburg’s pancreas. She received radiation treatment in August, NPR reported.
Later that month, the justice made an appearance at the National Book Festival, where she announced, “As this audience can see I am alive, and I’m on my way to being very well.”
Ginsburg previously survived colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.
She is the oldest member of the court, followed by justices Stephen Breyer at 81 and Clarence Thomas at 71.
In July 2018, Ginsburg hinted at a timeline for her retirement. “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years,” she said during an interview.
If she left the court at 90, that would fall during a potential second term for Trump.
Trump has reportedly said he would nominate 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg.
The Senate approved the now 47-year-old Barrett — who clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia early in her legal career — to the 7th Circuit in 2017 by a vote of 55 to 43.
So far, Trump successfully appointed justices Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, which resulted in the high court having a 5-4 conservative majority, with Roberts often playing the role of the swing vote.
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