WASHINGTON - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose ill health in recent months has sparked speculation about her retirement, is cancer-free after surgery to remove two nodules from her lung, a court spokeswoman said Friday.
The recovery of the 85-year-old Ginsburg, the eldest of the nine justices and a stalwart of the court’s liberal wing, is “on track” after her surgery in December, said the spokeswoman, Kathleen Arberg.
“Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease and no further treatment is required,” Arberg said. “Justice Ginsburg will continue to work from home next week and will participate in the consideration and decision of the cases on the basis of the briefs and the transcripts of oral arguments.”
Ginsburg — fondly known as “The Notorious RBG,” a riff on slain rapper The Notorious B.I.G. — missed court arguments for the first time in her more than 25 years on the Supreme Court this past week.
On Nov. 7, she took a fall in her office that left her with three broken ribs. X-rays revealed two cancerous nodules on her left lung. They were removed on December 21 at a New York hospital.
This was Ginsburg’s third bout with cancer — she was treated for colon cancer in 1999, and a decade later, pancreatic cancer that was caught at an early stage.
She is one of four liberals on the court. She has repeatedly said she will only retire when she feels incapable of handling the workload.
Her health is closely monitored amid worries on the left that should she die or be forced to retire for health reasons, President Donald Trump — who has already chosen two conservative justices — would get another pick.
U.S. media report that the White House is already discreetly working on a shortlist of candidates, should Ginsburg step away from the court.
U.S. Supreme Court justices are appointed for life.