WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s first absence from the bench extended into a second day on Tuesday as the 85-year-old jurist continued her recovery from lung cancer surgery at home.
Although Ginsburg did not attend the oral arguments, she will participate in the cases and rulings by using the briefs and oral argument transcripts, Chief Justice John Roberts announced from the bench.
Ginsburg, who joined the court in 1993, underwent a surgical procedure called a pulmonary lobectomy on Dec. 21 at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York to remove two cancerous nodules in her left lung. She was released from the hospital on Christmas Day.
Monday was the first time Ginsburg, the oldest member of the nine-justice court, has missed oral arguments as a result of her various health scares, including two previous cancer diagnoses. Ginsburg also broke three ribs in a fall in November, which led to doctors’ discovery of the nodules on her lung.
If Ginsburg, one of the court’s four liberal members, were unable to continue serving, Trump could replace her with a conservative, further shifting the court to the right. Trump has added two justices to the court since becoming president in January 2017.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Bill Trott)