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Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Image: Getty Images/Boston Globe/P. Greenhouse

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg back to work

December 24, 2018

The 85-year-old is back to work after undergoing a successful cancer surgery. Many have expressed fears that Ginsburg's ill health could give President Trump a third pick for the court.


A spokeswoman for the US Supreme Court said late on Sunday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was up and working as she recovered from cancer surgery. Ginsburg, 85, is still at a New York City hospital and no date has been set for her return to Washington.

The news that Ginsburg is doing better will likely come as a relief to Democrats in Washington and progressives across the US, who worry that if anything serious happens to Ginsburg, President Donald Trump will be able to appoint a third Supreme Court justice in just one term. As these are lifetime appointments, a third Trump nominee could swing the court towards arch-conservatism for decades.

On Friday, Ginsburg underwent surgery to remove cancerous nodes from one of her lungs. Afterwards, her doctor said "there was no evidence of any remaining disease."

From her hospital bed, Ginsburg cast a decisive vote blocking the Trump administration's attempt to stop anyone who crosses the US border illegally from claiming asylum. Despite this, Trump took to Twitter to wish her a speedy recovery, as did her legions of supporters.

Supreme Court star

Ginsburg is known for her tenacity, and has not missed a single day of oral arguments in her 25 years at the court, even after suffering a previous cancer scare and a broken rib.

Only the second female justice ever to serve on the court, she has achieved a kind of star status that is uncommon amongst Supreme Court justices. This year she was the subject of an award-winning documentary and a fictionalized biopic starring Felicity Jones.

But at 85 she is also the oldest member of the Supreme Court. Both she and the next-oldest, Justice Stephen Breyer, 80, were appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Although neither have indicated an inclination to retire before the next presidential election in 2020, many have expressed fears that the two octogenarians could experience health problems that might force them to step away from the court.

es/kms (AP, Reuters)

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