Jus­tice Gins­burg hos­pi­tal­ized with frac­tured ribs af­ter fall

Star-Telegram - - News - BY EILEEN SUL­LI­VAN

Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg, a crit­i­cal lib­eral voice on the Supreme Court, was hos­pi­tal­ized Thurs­day morn­ing with three bro­ken ribs af­ter fall­ing in her of­fice the day be­fore.

Gins­burg, 85, went home af­ter her fall Wed­nes­day evening and ex­pe­ri­enced dis­com­fort dur­ing the night, a Supreme Court spokes­woman, Kathy Ar­berg, said in a state­ment. She was ad­mit­ted to Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal on Thurs­day morn­ing for ob­ser­va­tion and treat­ment. Doc­tors found three bro­ken ribs on her left side.

The next sit­ting of the Supreme Court be­gins Nov. 26, and Gins­burg’s his­tory sug­gests the in­juries are not likely to keep her away. She broke two ribs in 2012, with­out miss­ing work. And she re­turned to work quickly af­ter un­der­go­ing a heart pro­ce­dure in 2012. She is also a cancer sur­vivor and re­turned to work less than three weeks af­ter hav­ing surgery.

Gins­burg is the linch­pin of the four-mem­ber lib­eral mi­nor­ity on a Supreme Court that has shifted ide­o­log­i­cally to the right un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. In less than two years in of­fice, he has ap­pointed two jus­tices, and he has vowed to fill any fur­ther open­ings with more staunch con­ser­va­tives. A third Trump ap­point­ment to the court would give it a dom­i­nant 6-3 con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity.

Gins­burg is the court’s old­est mem­ber, a re­al­ity not lost on lib­er­als who had al­ready been jit­tery about how much more time she will be able to serve.

“I think all there is to say at this point is that I – and hope­fully all of us – wish Jus­tice Gins­burg all of the best for a full and speedy re­cov­ery,” said Erwin Che­merin­sky, dean of the law school at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.

Bro­ken ribs are usu­ally painful and could punc­ture the lung, de­pend­ing on the specifics of the break. Ar­berg, the court’s spokes­woman, did not pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tails about how Gins­burg fell or whether she fell be­cause of an­other med­i­cal con­di­tion. Bro­ken ribs typ­i­cally take about six weeks to heal, but it varies from case to case.

By mid­day, Trump had not pub­licly com­mented on Gins­burg’s hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. In the morn­ing, the pres­i­dent at­tended a for­mal cer­e­mony at the Supreme Court for Jus­tice Brett Ka­vanaugh, who was sworn in last month. All the jus­tices were there ex­cept Gins­burg.

Trump has been crit­i­cal of Gins­burg, say­ing in 2016 that “her mind is shot” and sug­gest­ing that she re­sign. His sharp words came af­ter Gins­burg mocked Trump in a se­ries of in­ter­views. She later said she had made a mis­take in pub­licly com­ment­ing on a can­di­date and promised to be more “cir­cum­spect” in the fu­ture.

Gins­burg was ap­pointed to the court by Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton in 1993. Orig­i­nally from New York, she speaks with a hint of a Brook­lyn ac­cent and once de­scribed her­self as “this lit­tle tiny lit­tle woman.”

The jus­tice, who is known for her life­time of work fight­ing for women’s rights, was the sub­ject of a doc­u­men­tary over the sum­mer, and Hol­ly­wood is mak­ing a movie from her life story. She gained so­cial me­dia pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years with her own meme and nick­name, “No­to­ri­ous R.B.G.”

As the news about Gins­burg spread on so­cial me­dia Thurs­day, some Twit­ter users vol­un­teered to do­nate their ribs to her, and oth­ers called for pro­tec­tive Bub­ble Wrap to be sent her way.

Dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, Che­merin­sky and other lib­er­als called for Gins­burg to step down some­time dur­ing the sum­mer be­fore the 2014 midterm elec­tions so Pres­i­dent Barack Obama could name her suc­ces­sor. The Democrats went on to cede con­trol of the Se­nate – and thus the abil­ity to con­firm Supreme Court jus­tices – in those elec­tions.


Supreme Court Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg sus­tained three bro­ken ribs af­ter fall­ing in her of­fice Wed­nes­day.

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