U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is set to miss next week’s oral arguments as she continues to recover from lung cancer surgery. Her absence is stoking speculation about how much longer she will remain on the court.
Ginsburg, 85, missed — for the first time ever — her first day of oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Monday after more than 25 years on the bench.
Ginsburg (pictured above) underwent the lung cancer surgery in December.
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Doctors discovered the cancer after she fractured three ribs during a fall in her office in November.
This marked Ginsburg’s third bout with cancer.
“Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required,” Supreme Court public information officer Kathy Arberg said in a statement on Friday.
“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. Her recovery from surgery is on track,” Arberg said.
Ginsburg — an icon for feminists and liberals — is sometimes referred to in pop culture as the “Notorious R.B.G.” A popular documentary about her life, “RBG,” and the movie “On the Basis of Sex” depicting her early professional career, were both released in 2018.
Many liberal activists and social media users are desperately hoping Ginsburg can outlast President Donald Trump’s administration and wait until a Democrat enters the White House again before she retires.
But her recent health scares have prompted White House officials to begin planning for her possible departure, according to multiple media outlets.
White House officials have been reaching out to “a small number of GOP lawmakers and conservative legal advocates, reassuring them it would be ready for any court vacancy,” Fox News confirmed.
If Ginsburg retires in the near future, Trump will have his third opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice during his first term in office — an alarming prospect for liberal activists and Democratic senators.
Trump replaced the conservative late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the more moderate conservative former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy with two conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. But should Ginsburg retire during Trump’s presidency, Trump will have the opportunity to fill a liberal justice’s spot with another conservative — thus making the ideological balance 6-3.
If Ginsburg retires, it could mark Trump’s most difficult confirmation battle yet.
Many Democratic senators and liberals activists immediately opposed Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
But Kavanaugh’s confirmation process descended into chaos following the last-minute sexual assault allegations leveled against him — all of which he vehemently and consistently denied.
Christine Blasey Ford was the first woman to come forward publicly on September 16, alleging that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a high school gathering 36 years before in Maryland, when they were both high school teens.
Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, also came forward at the last minute with sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
The FBI investigated the claims but found no corroboration for any of them.
Kavanaugh denied the allegations unequivocally and Trump stood by his nominee. Only one GOP senator — Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — refused to vote for Kavanaugh as the rest of the Republican senators ultimately unified around him.
Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate 50-48 on October 6.
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