UPDATE: Ginsburg’s absence on bench renews further concerns over health
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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent from the Supreme Court bench for a second consecutive day on Tuesday, raising concerns about whether her recent health scares will keep her off the bench for a prolonged period of time.
Chief Justice John Roberts noted Ginsburg’s absence when the justices took their seats for oral arguments, repeating his remarks from Monday in which he said Ginsburg is “unable to be present” for the court’s sitting but will participate in the decisions using transcripts of the arguments and court briefs.
The article goes on to state the following:
The 85-year-old justice missed her first oral argument this week in more than 25 years as she recuperates at home following a surgical procedure on Dec. 21 that removed two cancerous nodules from the lower lobe of her left lung.
Roberts did not say whether Ginsburg will be back at court on Wednesday.
“I don’t want to speculate about her health, but it doesn’t seem like a good sign,” said Elizabeth Slattery, a legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “Perhaps she’s just resting up and will be back up to 100 percent soon.”
Slattery, who hosts the podcast “SCOTUS 101,” noted that justices like the late William Rehnquist have missed arguments before. Rehnquist, who served as chief justice, was unable to hear dozens of cases after he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent a tracheotomy in 2004.
Christine Venter, a Notre Dame Law School professor, noted in a 2017 journal article that Rehnquist missed oral arguments in 44 cases during his cancer treatment but still assigned himself to write the majority opinion in four cases that term.
“This isn’t unprecedented, but it is unusual for Justice Ginsburg,” Slattery said.
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