Law & the Courts

Ginsburg Missing from SCOTUS Bench for Second Day in a Row

Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives for the swearing in ceremony of Judge Neil Gorsuch in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters File Photo)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed a second day in a row on the Supreme Court bench Tuesday after missing oral arguments for the first time in her over 25 years on the court Monday.

Justice Ginsburg, 85, will participate in the court’s decisions from home but is “unable to be present,” said Chief Justice John Roberts as the court convened for its second day in 2019. She is recovering from surgery on December 21 that removed two cancerous spots in her left lung, discovered during tests after a November fall that broke three of her ribs. Physicians said the surgery had been a success, as she appeared to be cancer-free.

Ginsburg’s health troubles have worried liberals already smarting at the composition of the Court, where conservatives gained a majority after President Trump appointed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. If she is forced to step down, her replacement will be Trump’s third appointment to the court. However, she has weathered colon cancer and pancreatic cancer in the past and said last summer that she aims to serve “at least five more years” on the court.

This term the court will consider Trump’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and his ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, among other hot-button issues.

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