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Justice Ginsburg Hospitalized For ‘Possible Infection’

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg / Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized Tuesday morning and underwent surgery for treatment of a possible infection.

The 87-year-old jurist was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore after bouts of fever and chills. Just hours earlier, the Court had cleared the way for the first federal executions in almost two decades, issuing opinions around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the High Court said in a statement that Ginsburg underwent an endoscopic procedure to clean a stent placed in her stomach in August 2019. Ginsburg underwent a three-week course of radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer during that same period, her third cancer diagnosis since ascending to the Court. The device, called a "bile duct stent," is sometimes used to treat pancreatic cancer patients.

The justice is said to be resting comfortably and will remain in the hospital for antibiotic treatment for several days. The statement makes no reference to the coronavirus.

Tuesday's hospitalization is Ginsburg's second in just over two months. She participated in oral arguments from a hospital bed while she was treated for a benign gallbladder condition in May.

The Court is slated to loom large over the November general election, and Ginsburg's health is much-watched by anxious liberal admirers. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has pledged to appoint a black woman to the Court and is expected to issue a short list of candidates in the coming weeks. President Donald Trump will likewise release a new roster of prospective picks.

There is scant evidence that unsure health has adversely affected the Court's work. Ginsburg featured in some of the marquee cases of the Court's latest term, producing dissents in cases concerning school choice and the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate. She authored six majority opinions, which puts her on track with her colleagues in terms of outputs.