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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Waited 4 Months To Say Her Cancer Had Returned
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 14: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen as she presents the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Inaugural Woman of Leadership Award to Agnes Gund at The Library of Congress on February 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by
Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been battling health issues for decades, waited more than four months to reveal that she was undergoing chemotherapy after her cancer returned.

Ginsberg, 87, was hospitalized last week and underwent a procedure on Wednesday to “revise a bile duct stent” at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The initial stent lasted less than a year, having originally been placed last August when Ginsburg was treated for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas.

The procedure followed another one to clean out the stent after Ginsburg experienced mild symptoms.

“Justice Ginsburg was admitted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland early this morning for treatment of a possible infection,” the Supreme Court said in a statement. “She was initially evaluated at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. last night after experiencing fever and chills.”

“She underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August,” the statement added. “The Justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment.”

Ginsburg started receiving chemotherapy in May, just as the court began announcing decisions. “Ginsburg issued a statement on July 17 saying that a medical scan in February revealed lesions on her liver, which a subsequent biopsy determined were cancerous,” the Associated Press reported.

The lesions are the fifth time Ginsburg has dealt with cancer since 1999, when she first underwent surgery for colorectal cancer. Surgeries for tumors on her pancreas and lung took place in 2009 and 2018, respectively, and Ginsburg underwent radiation therapy for a new growth on her pancreas last year.

In her statement, Ginsburg, the oldest member of America’s highest court, said “I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that.”

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was asked last week about plans by President Trump to replace a court justice should a vacancy arise. “I can’t imagine if he had a vacancy on the Supreme Court that he would not very quickly make the appointment and look for the Senate to take quick action,” Meadows said, adding that he wishes Ginsburg “the very best.”

“Ginsburg has faced a slew of hurdles concerning her health, fueling speculation that her possible exit from the court could provide an opportunity for President Trump to appoint a third justice to the bench,” Fox News reported earlier this year. “However, she consistently has slapped down any notion that her departure from the nation’s highest court was imminent, insisting that she’d like to remain on the bench until she’s 90 years old.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was also hospitalized in June after he fell and reportedly hit his head at a country club.

In a statement, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg told The Washington Post:

The Chief Justice was treated at a hospital on June 21 for an injury to his forehead sustained in a fall while walking for exercise near his home. The injury required sutures, and out of an abundance of caution, he stayed in the hospital overnight and was discharged the next morning. His doctors ruled out a seizure. They believe the fall was likely due to light-headedness caused by dehydration.

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