The US supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been admitted to hospital for treatment for a possible infection. She is likely to be there for “a few days”, the court announced.
According to a statement, she is resting comfortably and will stay in hospital for a few days for antibiotic treatment.
She was admitted to the Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, early on Tuesday morning.
Ginsburg is the oldest judge on the supreme court, at 87, and has been hospitalized several times in recent years, including for treatment for cancer. She sits firmly on the liberal wing of the court and is a native New Yorker, from Brooklyn.
The supreme court just wrapped up a historic set of June rulings that favored a woman’s right to choose abortion, the rights of undocumented young immigrants known as Dreamers to be protected from deportation, and the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the work place.
When the justice was last in the hospital, also at Johns Hopkins, in May for a non-surgical procedure for a gallstone that had caused an infection, she continued to participate in the court’s oral arguments remotely from the hospital.
The latest news means she has been in hospital twice during the coronavirus outbreak in the US, which has put pressure on hospitals in hotspots with the highest levels of cases, such as New York and now southern states from Florida to California.
She has had a number of health scares in recent years. In November 2018, she broke three ribs in a fall. Subsequent medical tests led to treatment for lung cancer that caused her to miss oral arguments in January 2019. She returned to the bench but said in August that year that she had received radiation therapy to treat pancreatic cancer.
And Ginsburg was admitted to a hospital in November 2019 for two nights suffering from a fever and chills, but she returned to work at the court the day after being released. In January, she said she was cancer free.
The health of the liberal justice is closely watched because a supreme court vacancy would give Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint a third justice to the nine-member court and push it further to the right. The court currently has a 5-4 conservative majority.
Ginsburg was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1993 and only the conservative justice Clarence Thomas, 71, and appointed by George HW Bush in 1991, has served longer among current members of the court.
The supreme court said in a statement later Tuesday that Ginsburg “was initially evaluated at Sibley Memorial hospital in Washington DC, 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 justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment.”