Liberal US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, breaks ribs in fall

Liberal US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, breaks ribs in fall

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: US Supreme Court judge fractures ribs in fall

The court says the 85-year-old justice went to George Washington University hospital in Washington early on Thursday after experiencing discomfort overnight. The court said the fall occurred in her office at the court on Wednesday evening.

Despite her absence, the court went ahead on Thursday with a courtroom ceremony welcoming Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the court last month. Donald Trump and new acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker attended. Kavanaugh was sworn in to the lifetime job last month.

The president sat along with first lady Melania Trump at the front of the marble-walled courtroom near the justices mahogany bench, and made no public remarks. Some leading Republicans from the US Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, attended.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Hospital treatment for Supreme Court justice strikes fear into US liberals

Ginsburg broke two ribs in a fall in 2012. She has had two prior bouts with cancer and had a stent implanted to open a blocked artery in 2014.

But she has never missed Supreme Court arguments. The court wont hear arguments again until after Thanksgiving.

Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg rebuffed suggestions from some liberals that she should step down in the first two years of Barack Obamas second term, when Democrats also controlled the Senate and would have been likely to confirm her successor.

“My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90,” she told CNN. “So I think I have about at least five more years.” Anthony Kennedy just stepped down from the court earlier this year at the age of 82.

Video: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Brooklyns Own Supreme Court Justice | History

She already has hired clerks for the term that extends into 2020, indicating she has no plans to retire.

In the interview, she spoke about being close friends with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia despite having different political views. “If I had my choice of dissenters when I was writing for the court, it would be Justice Scalia,” Ginsburg told the paper. Scalia’s seat was eventually filled by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by Trump.

If Ginsburg were unable to continue serving on the court, Trump would likely move swiftly to replace her with a conservative, further shifting the court to the right. That would have major consequences for issues including abortion, the death penalty, voting rights, gay rights, business litigation and presidential powers.

“I’ve known her for many, many years … got to see her just a few weeks ago here at the swearing-in of Justice Kavanaugh,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters about Ginsburg’s hospitalization. She added:  “I hope she has a full and speedy recovery.”

Trump has already named two members of the court, adding conservative federal appeals court judges Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed by the Senate last year.

Ginsburg, who made her name as an advocate for womens rights, voiced support for the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct even as Kavanaugh was about to face a Senate hearing on the allegations against him, saying that unlike in her youth, women nowadays are not silent about bad behavior.

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