In a statement, spokesperson Kathy Arberg said that: “Justice Ginsburg was admitted to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland early this morning for treatment of a possible infection.
“She 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.
Liberal US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to hospital on Tuesday with a possible infection stemming from a benign gallbladder condition.
”The justice is resting comfortably and will stay in the hospital for a few days to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment.”
Ms Ginsburg, who has recently been the subject of both a documentary and a biopic, is one of the current court’s four more liberal justices. Nominated by Bill Clinton in 1993, she is the second woman ever to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice (after Sandra Day O’Connor).
This is not her first overnight hospital stay this year. The 87-year-old justice was admitted with the original gallstone infection in May, but was well enough to participate in oral arguments before the court over the telephone. She has survived cancer four times.
Liberals – already in the minority on the court – are worried that were she to die or retire before Donald Trump leaves office, she might be replaced by a conservative justice, who might vote to overturn key court decisions such as Roe v Wade.
Thanks to the combination of a Republican president and a Republican Senate majority, the nomination of a new justice could proceed quickly enough to outpace the next presidential inauguration and the swearing-in of the new Senate, even if the Democrats manage to take back power.
However, while there is no technical reason that the nomination process should take longer than the remaining time between now and the next inauguration, there is precedent for holding up a nomination until after an election.
When the highly conservative Antonin Scalia died in 2016, Barack Obama was given the chance to nominate a new justice, and picked the widely respected moderate liberal Merrick Garland.
However, the Republican-led Senate said they would not consider the nomination of a new justice until after the election that year, with majority leader Mitch McConnell claiming there was a “rule” that the upper chamber wait for the outcome to be clear.
The precedent he cited, which is not in fact grounded in any written law, was a 1992 speech by a former head of the judiciary committee: Joe Biden.