The U.S. Supreme Court began oral arguments this week on two major cases, but one notable Justice was absent for a mysterious reason.
On Wednesday, the nation’s highest court heard oral arguments on a huge case regarding a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit.
While eight of the Justices were present, one was not: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In a statement from Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg has reportedly come down with another illness, this time she’s suffering from a “stomach bug.”
From the bench, Roberts said the 86-year-old liberal Justice was “indisposed due to illness” and that she would rely on written briefs and audio recordings to keep up with the cases.
The Wednesday session was the court’s last this month. Justices will hold a private meeting on Friday, and meet again on Monday, but no arguments are scheduled. Case arguments will resume on Dec. 2.
Ginsburg has faced a slew of questions about her ailing health and whether she is still capable of serving on the nation’s highest court.
Las month, Ginsburg completed three weeks of radiation therapy at a New York City hospital to treat a malignant tumor on her pancreas.
An abnormality was detected in early July during a routine blood test, and a subsequent biopsy revealed the tumor.
The 86-year-old liberal lion began radiation treatments on Aug. 5 and received treatment as an outpatient.
As part of her treatment, a bile duct stent was placed on her pancreas.
“The Justice tolerated treatment well,” a statement released at the time said. “She canceled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, but has otherwise maintained an active schedule.”
Despite several health challenges and major surgeries over the years to remove cancerous nodes, Ginsburg said she doesn’t think she should step down from the Supreme Court.
“The work is really what saved me because I had to concentrate on reading the briefs, doing a draft of an opinion, and I knew it had to get done,” she said back in September. “So I had to get past whatever my aches and pains were just to do the job.”
Obviously keeping the most liberal Justice on the court is more important to Democrats than her health and well being.
But beyond that, there are serious issues still surrounding her health and how much longer she can continue to serve on the Supreme Court.
In December of 2018, the 85-year-old Justice had surgery to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung, forcing her to miss almost a month of oral arguments on the Supreme Court.
In 2009, she had surgery for pancreatic cancer and missed time from the Supreme Court during her recovery.
Back in 1999, Ginsburg had colorectal cancer that required nine months of chemotherapy.
While many have wished nothing but the best for Ginsburg, it’s clear that her health issues have gotten worse.
And the fact that she still continues to suffer from so many scares has many wondering how much longer RBG plans to sit on the nation’s highest court.