This Ruth Bader Ginsburg Recovery Update Means She Should Be Back On The Bench Soon
After being discharged from the hospital on Christmas Day following a cancer treatment surgery, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recovery is going well — and there are no more signs of cancer. Ginsburg will work from home next week as she continues to recover, but she does not need any more treatment, according to USA Today.
The Supreme Court announced on Friday that Ginsburg would miss a second week of oral arguments, CNN reported, but that her recovery is "on track." In December, Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy in order to remove two cancerous nodules in her left lung. She has not returned to the bench since her surgery, but has reportedly maintained her court participation by reading briefs at home.
According to CNN, Monday was the first time in her career as a Supreme Court justice that Ginsburg missed oral arguments as a result of health concerns, though she survived two other rounds of cancer in the past. But given that the court is currently debating whether to take up several contentious cases — such as the Trump administration's decisions to bar transgender people from the military and to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — Ginsburg has continued to participate by proxy. Top cancer surgeons reportedly told CNBC that they expect Ginsburg to return to the bench in time for the court's February seating.
Ahead of the Supreme Court's announcement on Friday, Politico reported that the Trump administration was reaching out to conservative allies in preparation for Ginsburg's potential departure from the bench. After Ginsburg missed oral arguments on Monday, the White House reportedly began to stake out possible candidates for her replacement, and to prepare for another difficult confirmation process.
Since he first assumed the presidency two years ago, Trump has already appointed two other justices to the Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. However, Ginsburg has made it clear that she does not intend to leave the court before 2020, having already hired law clerks through the end of Trump's first term. The Supreme Court also gave no sign that Ginsburg was thinking of stepping down.
"Justice Ginsburg will continue to work from home next week and will participate in the consideration and decision of the cases on the basis of the briefs and the transcripts of oral arguments," the court said on Friday, per USA Today.
The discovery of cancerous nodules in her left lung was not the first health concern Ginsburg faced during her time on the bench. In fact, doctors first detected the nodules after Ginsburg fractured her ribs in a fall back in November. She also fractured two ribs in a fall in June 2012 — though she did not publicly disclose that injury for months — and has been treated for both colorectal and pancreatic cancer since she was first appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993.
2018 marked Ginsburg's 25th year serving on the Supreme Court, and she said in December that she "will do this job as long as I can do it full steam," CNN reported. According to Business Insider, Ginsburg maintains a rigorous exercise routine and regularly works with a personal trainer so that she can stay fit and remain on the court for as long as possible.