On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed courtroom arguments in two cases. Chief Justice John Roberts announced that Ginsburg was “indisposed due to illness.” A court official said she was “home with a stomach bug.”
RBG is the Supreme Court’s oldest justice (age 86). Her absence on Wednesday comes at the end of a year in which she has had two cancer scares. She missed arguments this past January for the first time since 1993, recovering from cancer surgery in December 2018. In August, the Court announced Ginsburg had undergone a three-week treatment for malignant pancreatic cancer. She had also broken three ribs in a fall last November.
Ginsburg is the Court’s most notorious liberal. A recent film told her story, highlighting the fact that she achieved a groundbreaking legal career while also raising a family. She played key roles in cases where the Supreme Court arguably made law by reinterpreting the Constitution, especially the abortion case Roe v. Wade (1973) and the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). Even so, she has carried on friendships with conservative justices — including Antonin Scalia and Brett Kavanaugh — which have offended liberal commentators.
It seems unlikely RBG will retire, especially with President Donald Trump in office. Even so, it seems her age may be catching up with her.
I wish RBG a speedy recovery.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.