Jus­tice Gins­burg frac­tures three ribs in fall

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: Ruth Bader Gins­burg, a promi­nent lib­eral who at 85 is the oldest U.S. Supreme Court jus­tice, was hos­pi­tal­ized Thurs­day af­ter fall­ing in her of­fice at the court the night be­fore, frac­tur­ing three ribs, a court spokes­woman said.

Gins­burg ini­tially went home af­ter the fall, but ex­pe­ri­enced dis­com­fort overnight and went to Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal Thurs­day morn­ing, court spokes­woman Kathy Ar­berg said in a state­ment.

Tests showed she frac­tured three ribs on her left side and she was ad­mit­ted for ob­ser­va­tion and treat­ment, Ar­berg added. The court is not sched­uled to hear its next ar­gu­ments in cases un­til Nov. 26.

Gins­burg, who has served on the court since 1993, is one of the court’s four lib­er­als. The court’s 5-4 con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity was re­stored last month when the U.S. Se­nate con­firmed Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ap­pointee Brett Ka­vanaugh af­ter a con­tentious nom­i­na­tion process in which Ka­vanaugh de­nied a sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tion dat­ing to the 1980s.

If Gins­burg were un­able to con­tinue serv­ing on the court, Trump would likely move swiftly to re­place her with a con­ser­va­tive, fur­ther shift­ing the court to the right. That would have ma­jor con­se­quences for is­sues in­clud­ing abor­tion, the death penalty, vot­ing rights, gay rights, busi­ness lit­i­ga­tion and pres­i­den­tial pow­ers.

As the oldest jus­tice, Gins­burg is closely watched for any signs of de­te­ri­o­rat­ing health. She has sur­vived bouts with cancer and un­der­goes reg­u­lar med­i­cal check­ups. This week’s in­ci­dent was not the first time Gins­burg has suf­fered an in­jury as a re­sult of a fall – in June 2012, she fell at home and cracked two ribs.

Ka­vanaugh’s nom­i­na­tion hear­ings were rocked by uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Chris­tine Blasey Ford’s al­le­ga­tions that he sex­u­ally as­saulted her in 1982, when they were both high school stu­dents.

Gins­burg, who made her name as an ad­vo­cate for women’s rights, voiced sup­port for the #MeToo move­ment against sex­ual mis­con­duct even as Ka­vanaugh was about to face a Se­nate hear­ing on the al­le­ga­tions against him, say­ing un­like in her youth, “women nowa­days are not silent about bad be­hav­ior.”

Trump went to the court Thurs­day for a for­mal cer­e­mony wel­com­ing Ka­vanaugh to the na­tion’s high­est court. Ka­vanaugh was sworn in to the life­time job last month.

Gins­burg made crit­i­cal com­ments about Trump when he was run­ning for pres­i­dent in 2016, in an un­usual foray into pol­i­tics by a Supreme Court jus­tice. She later said she re­gret­ted mak­ing the re­marks, say­ing “judges should avoid com­ment­ing on a can­di­date for pub­lic of­fice.”

Gins­burg is a hero among many U.S. lib­er­als, some­times called “The No­to­ri­ous R.B.G” in a nick­name based on the late Amer­i­can rap­per The No­to­ri­ous B.I.G. Gins­burg has helped but­tress equal­ity rights dur­ing her time on the high court, in­clud­ing in sex dis­crim­i­na­tion cases, and has been a cham­pion of abor­tion rights and gay rights.

In 2010, af­ter the re­tire­ment of more se­nior lib­er­als, she be­came the court’s voice of lib­er­al­ism on be­half of women, racial mi­nori­ties and the poor and dis­en­fran­chised.

Trump has al­ready named two mem­bers of the court, adding con­ser­va­tive fed­eral ap­peals court judges Ka­vanaugh and Neil Gor­such, who was con­firmed by the Se­nate last year.

If he were able to make a third nom­i­na­tion to the court to re­place Gins­burg, that would in­crease the con­ser­va­tive ma­jor­ity to 6-3. The court’s other lib­eral jus­tices are Stephen Breyer, Elena Ka­gan and So­nia So­tomayor. Breyer, 80, is the court’s sec­ond-oldest jus­tice.

Ka­vanaugh’s Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion process con­vulsed the na­tion just weeks be­fore Tues­day’s con­gres­sional elec­tions in which Trump’s fel­low Repub­li­cans lost con­trol of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives but built on their ma­jor­ity in Se­nate, which has sole au­thor­ity over ju­di­cial and Supreme Court nom­i­na­tions.

Trump cred­ited Wed­nes­day the fight over con­firm­ing Ka­vanaugh, in which Democrats strongly op­posed the nom­i­nee, for the gains in the Se­nate.

“By ex­pand­ing the Se­nate ma­jor­ity, the vot­ers have also clearly re­buked the Se­nate Democrats for their han­dling of the Ka­vanaugh hear­ings,” he told re­porters.

Trump se­lected Ka­vanaugh in July to re­place long-serv­ing con­ser­va­tive Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy, who re­tired.

Other can­di­dates he con­sid­ered for the va­cancy in­cluded: Thomas Hardi­man, who serves on the Philadel­phia-based 3rd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals, Ray­mond Keth­ledge and Amul Tha­par of the Cincin­nati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals and Amy Coney Bar­rett of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals. –

Gins­burg par­tic­i­pates in tak­ing a new fam­ily photo with her fel­low jus­tices at the Supreme Court build­ing in Wash­ing­ton.

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