Ginsburg leaves hospital after treatment for broken ribs

In 2012, she broke two ribs without missing work
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a speaking engagement at New York University School of Law in New York on Feb.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a speaking engagement at New York University School of Law in New York on Feb.

WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was discharged from the hospital Friday after treatment for three broken ribs suffered in a fall at her office Wednesday evening.

“She is doing well and plans to work from home today,” said Kathleen Arberg, a spokeswoman for the court.

If history is any guide, Ginsburg will be on the bench at the next sitting of the Supreme Court, which begins Nov. 26.

In 2012, she broke two ribs without missing work. Two years later, she returned to work quickly after undergoing a heart procedure.

She has had cancer twice, and has attributed her survival partly to the medical care she received at the National Institutes of Health.

“Ever since my colorectal cancer in 1999, I have been followed by the NIH,” she said in a 2013 interview. “That was very lucky for me because they detected my pancreatic cancer at a very early stage” in 2009.

Ginsburg was back on the bench less than three weeks after undergoing the second cancer surgery.

After her fall Wednesday night, Ginsburg returned home but experienced discomfort during the night. She was admitted to George Washington University Hospital on Thursday morning for observation and treatment.

Ginsburg, 85, is the senior member of the court’s four-member liberal wing. She has repeatedly vowed to stay on the court as long as her health holds and she stays mentally sharp. In a 2013 interview, she said she loved her work and intended to continue “as long as I can do the job full-steam, and that, at my age, is not predictable.”

At oral arguments, her questioning is pointed and betrays detailed familiarity with the parties’ legal arguments and the record in the case.

She often talks about her workouts with a trainer, whom she has called “my physical fitness guardian since 1999.”

Ginsburg was named to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She was the first Democratic appointment since 1967, when President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall.

Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn in 1933, graduated from Cornell in 1954 and began law school at Harvard. After moving to New York with her husband, she transferred to Columbia, where she earned her law degree.

She taught at Columbia and Rutgers and was a leading courtroom advocate of women’s rights before joining the court. As director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1970s, she brought a series of cases before the court that helped establish constitutional protections against sex discrimination.

Her litigation strategy invited comparison to that of Marshall, who was the architect of the civil rights movement’s incremental legal attack on racial discrimination before he joined the court.

In a 2016 interview, she was critical of President Donald Trump in the midst of the presidential campaign.

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she said. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

Ginsburg subsequently called her remarks ill-advised. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office,” she said. “In the future I will be more circumspect.”

On Friday, Trump addressed Ginsburg’s health, and her earlier comments.

“I wish her well,” he said before flying to France. “She said something very inappropriate during the campaign, but she apologized for it. I wouldn’t say she’s exactly on my side, but I wish her well. I hope she gets better. And I hope she serves on the Supreme Court for many, many years.”

Trump has appointed two justices to the court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, moving it considerably to the right.

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