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Chief Justice John Roberts Was Briefly Hospitalized Last Month after a Fall

Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts departs the Trump impeachment trial in Washington, D.C., January 29, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized overnight last month after a fall at a Maryland country club, a Supreme Court spokeswoman confirmed to the Washington Post

Roberts’ fall at the Chevy Chase Club on June 21 left him with a head injury that required sutures. The 65-year-old was taken by ambulance to Suburban Hospital, where he stayed overnight for observation “out of an abundance of caution” before being released the next morning. 

A witness to the incident told the Post that the fall left the chief justice’s head covered in blood.

While Roberts has a history of experiencing seizures, once in 1993 and again in 2007, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg told the Post that his doctors ruled out the possibility of a seizure-induced fall. “They believe the fall was likely due to light-headedness caused by dehydration,” she said.

Roberts’ fall came eight days before he sided with liberal justices to strike down a Louisiana law restricting who can perform abortions. The chief justice has sided with liberals on a slew of rulings recently, including one three days before his fall, when the Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and, before that, on a case that prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Roberts and the Court had not previously made the public aware of the situation. Arberg told CNN this is because “the injury was not significant; he stayed overnight out of an abundance of caution and went home first thing in the morning.” The Court’s confirmation was the result of a tip received by the Post. 

Though the lifetime tenure of Supreme Court justices often leaves the judges’ health subject to a great deal of public speculation, justices are not required to divulge information about their health or medical conditions. 

The Court is working overtime to finish up its term remotely, with five cases remaining, including two involving President Trump’s financial records.

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