WASHINGTON – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized Thursday morning with three broken ribs after falling in her office Wednesday evening, a spokeswoman said.
Ginsburg, 85, went home after her fall, but experienced discomfort during the night. She was admitted to George Washington University Hospital, where doctors found three broken ribs on her left side, said Kathy Arberg, a Supreme Court spokeswoman.
The next sitting of the Supreme Court begins Nov. 26, and Ginsburg's history suggests the injuries are not likely to keep her away. She broke two ribs in 2012, without missing work. She returned to work quickly after undergoing a heart procedure in 2012. She also twice survived cancer — famously not missing a day of work during her chemotherapy and radiation treatments after her 1999 diagnosis. And she returned to work less than three weeks after having surgery for cancer in 2009.
Still, even with her resilience, liberals have become jittery about how much more time she will be able to serve, particularly with the balance of the Supreme Court shifting to the right because of President Donald Trump's appointment of two conservative justices. Ginsburg is the senior member of the court's liberal wing. A third Trump appointment to the court would give it a dominant 6-3 conservative majority.
By midday, Trump had not publicly commented on Ginsburg's hospitalization. In the morning, the president attended a ceremony at the Supreme Court for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was sworn in last month. All of the justices were there except for Ginsburg.
Trump has been critical of Ginsburg, saying in 2016 that "her mind is shot" and suggesting that she resign. His sharp words came after Ginsburg mocked Trump in a series of interviews. She later said she had made a mistake in publicly commenting on a candidate and promised to be more "circumspect" in the future.
Ginsburg was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and is its oldest justice. She has said she will stay for as long as she is healthy and mentally sharp.
Ginsburg speaks with a hint of a Brooklyn accent and once described herself as "this little tiny little woman." She is known for her lifetime of work fighting for women's rights and gained social media popularity in recent years with her own meme and nickname, "Notorious R.B.G." She was the subject of a documentary over the summer, and Hollywood is making a movie from her life story.
In 2013, some liberals pressured her to step down so President Barack Obama could name her successor.
In an interview at the time, Ginsburg said she would not base her retirement plans on who was in the Oval Office. She said she would stay put "as long as I can do the job full steam, and that, at my age, is not predictable."