Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been given a clean bill of health by doctors, and her cancer is reportedly in remission, but she will miss at least one more week of work, according to the New York Daily News.
The 85-year-old Justice is reportedly “progressing fine, and no further treatment is planned” the outlet says, and the two cancerous growths the justice had removed from her lungs last month represented the extent of the disease. The cancer has not returned, though Ginsburg will remain under observation.
“Her recovery from surgery is on track,” Ginsburg’s spokeswoman told media. “Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required.”
Ginsburg missed a full week of work on the Supreme Court bench last week, preferring to analyze cases in front of the court through pleadings and transcripts of oral arguments. Ginsburg’s staff assured the Supreme Court and well-wishers that the Justice was simply resting comfortably at home and that she is confident she can give the same attention to her cases, despite being outside of the courtroom.
Despite reassurances of Ginsburg’s improving health, the Trump administration is taking the justice’s repeated absences seriously. After all, last week was the first time Ginsburg missed an oral argument in her nearly 25 years on the bench. “Working from home” is not unheard of for Supreme Court Justices — former Chief Justice William Rehnquist used the privilege while recovering from illness as well — but it is extremely rare.
Ginsburg has also suffered from a series of health problems including a recent fall, where she sustained broken ribs — an incident which lead to the discovery of cancerous nodes in her lungs.
If Ginsburg is forced to retire for health reasons, it could give President Donald Trump a third opportunity to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice, and given Ginsburg’s history of leaning to the far-left, any effort to replace her on the court will be hard-fought.
The Trump administration, Politico reports, “is taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates, reaching out to key stakeholders, and just making sure that people are informed on the process,” largely to keep themselves nimble if and when the possibility of replacing Ginsburg becomes reality.
“They’re doing it very quietly, of course, because the idea is not to be opportunistic, but just to be prepared so we aren’t caught flat-footed,” Politico’s source continued.
“It would be a brutal confirmation,” a Heritage Foundation expert added. “The first two were not easy at all, but this would be much harder in this respect: When Neil Gorsuch was the nominee, you were replacing a conservative with a conservative. With Kavanaugh, you were replacing the perennial swing voter, who more times than not sided with the so-called conservative wing, so that slightly solidified the conservative wing.”
In other words, what the White House witnessed during now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings was just the beginning.