Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Friday night with a possible infection, the Supreme Court said Saturday night, the latest health scare to confront the 86-year-old senior member of the court.
Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing, has been treated twice in the past year for cancer. She missed a recent session of the court’s arguments with what a spokeswoman described as a stomach bug, although she returned to the bench last week.
The court waited 24 hours before disclosing Ginsburg’s most recent health scare.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore last night after experiencing chills and fever earlier in the day,” the court said Saturday night.
“She was initially evaluated at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., before being transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital for further evaluation and treatment of any possible infection. With intravenous antibiotics and fluids, her symptoms have abated and she expects to be released from the hospital as early as Sunday morning. Further updates will be made when available.”
At an appearance at the end of August, Ginsburg said that her work on the Supreme Court has “kept me going” through four bouts of cancer and that she was “on my way to being very well.”
The Supreme Court said Aug. 23 that Ginsburg had completed a three-week course of stereotactic ablative radiation therapy — a highly focused treatment that concentrates an intense dose of radiation on a tumor — after a malignancy was discovered on her pancreas.
It was the second treatment for cancer in nine months for Ginsburg. She had a portion of her left lung removed in December, and in past decades was treated for colon and pancreatic cancer. She broke ribs in a fall in November, which resulted in the discovery of the lung cancer.
But before a roaring crowd at the National Book Festival in the District at the end of the summer, she declared: “This audience can see that I am alive.”
She has kept up a busy schedule of public speaking since then and has been through two sessions of the court’s oral arguments. But she missed one day of arguments because of flulike symptoms. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said Ginsburg would participate in deciding the cases by reading the briefs and transcripts of the oral arguments.
She was on the bench Monday when the court met to issue orders and swear in new members of the Supreme Court bar.
Ginsburg’s health is a constant concern for liberals, who live in fear of President Donald Trump replacing her with a conservative justice. He already has chosen two members of the court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Ginsburg was nominated to the court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Only Justice Clarence Thomas, nominated by President George H.W. Bush, has served on the court longer.
She has become a late-blooming celebrity on the court, referred to especially by young feminists as the “Notorious R.B.G.” She has been featured recently in both a documentary and Hollywood feature film.