The Supreme Court’s oldest justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, underwent surgery to remove two malignant nodules in her lung Friday and is expected to recover.
The disease was discovered incidentally during testing after Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal voice on the high court, fell in her office and broke three ribs in November. There’s no evidence that there’s additional disease in her body, according to a statement released by the Supreme Court.
Ginsburg’s health has been the subject of immense speculation. Since 2012, the 85-year-old — known to fans as the "Notorious RBG" — has broken her ribs twice as a result of falls. The pulmonary lobectomy she underwent Friday in New York City is her second public health scare in just two months. She has also survived two bouts of cancer.
The liberal judge is the oldest Supreme Court justice by five years, and her spot on the conservative-majority court is pivotal because she’s one of four left-leaning judges. Ginsburg, who’s been on the bench since 1993, has signaled she'll remain there by hiring law clerks until at least 2020, when President Donald Trump is up for re-election.
Trump has appointed two conservative judges — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — to the Supreme Court since he was elected president. Although both ultimately survived contentious confirmation process, public accusations of sexual assault and misconduct by numerous women against Kavanaugh nearly upended his nomination and threw the Senate into chaos.
Cover image: In this Nov. 30, 2018, file photo, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, nominated by President Bill Clinton, sits with fellow Supreme Court justices for a group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, Friday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)