Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has fractured three ribs in a fall on November 7, the court says.
The fall happened in her office at the Supreme Court in Washington.
The 85-year-old went home but was in discomfort and went to George Washington University hospital on November 8, a statement said.
Tests showed that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had fractured three ribs on her left side and she has been admitted for observation and treatment.
It meant that the most senior justice on the court’s liberal wing was not present for November 8 investiture of Brett Kavanaugh, whose appointment led to protests following allegations of assault.
Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment, confirmed last month by the Senate, restores the nine-member court’s conservative majority. The court has the final say on issues such as abortion, gun control and voting rules.
President Donald Trump, who nominated Brett Kavanaugh and described the claims against him as a “hoax”, attended his investiture.
On Twitter, many were quick to offer Ruth Bader Ginsburg assistance in the form of extra ribs and human shields to ensure she made it through the Trump presidency.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. She had previously focused her work on women’s rights and started the first law journal dedicated to the topic.
The liberal justice has survived cancer and in 2012 cracked two ribs in a fall at her home.
Some of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legal opinions, coupled with her refusal to step down during the Obama era, have seen her gain popularity in some quarters and earned her the nickname Notorious RBG.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the subject of both a recent documentary, RBG, and a forthcoming feature film, On the Basis of Sex, in which she is played by actress Felicity Jones. The feature film is about a landmark Supreme Court case in which Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued for fathers’ rights and against gender discrimination.
President Donald Trump has announced the search for a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will “begin immediately”.
He said at a rally in North Dakota: “We have to pick one that’s going to be there for 40 years, 45 years.”
The retirement of Justice Kennedy, a conservative who sided with liberals on many votes, gives President Trump the chance to shift the top court’s balance more to the right for decades to come.
The 81-year-old judge will retire on July 31.
Justice Anthony Kennedy made the announcement on June 27, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family after 30 years on the top court. President Trump later praised Justice Kennedy – who held the pivotal vote on many key cases – as “a great justice of the Supreme Court”.
“Hopefully we are going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding,” the president told reporters at the White House. The judge’s retirement gives President Trump his second Supreme Court pick since he became president, and he has said he will choose from a list of 25 conservative candidates.
The Supreme Court plays a key role in American life and is often the final word on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.
This week the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban which covers people from several Muslim-majority countries, in a 5-4 conservative majority ruling. Earlier this month the court ruled in favor of a baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Speaking at the rally in Fargo, North Dakota on June 27, President Trump told supporters that Anthony Kennedy had chosen to retire under his presidency “because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy”.
Donald Trump has promised to draw names from the same list from which he picked Neil Gorsuch in February 2017.
Rather than serving fixed terms, the justices serve for life unless they decide to retire. This makes their appointments particularly significant.
Anthony Kennedy, who is the second-oldest justice on the nine-member US Supreme Court, earned a reputation as a swing vote conservative who supported liberal arguments on key decisions, including the 5-4 rulings that decided same-gender marriage and upheld abortion rights.
Veteran appeals court judge Merrick Garland has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next US Supreme Court Justice.
The Supreme Court vacancy follows the death of Antonin Scalia last month.
Judge Garland, 63, is viewed as a moderate and has won praise from senior Republican figures.
Barack Obama’s appointment has to be ratified by the Senate, but its Republican majority has vowed to block a vote on any Supreme Court nominee from the current president.
Republicans have called on Barack Obama to leave the nomination to his successor, who will be elected in November.
The death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a staunch conservative, left the nine-member Supreme Court evenly divided between conservatives and liberals.
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It also set off a battle in a presidential election year over Antonin Scalia’s successor.
Urging the Senate to support Merrick Garland, Barack Obama said: “He is the right man for the job. He deserves to be confirmed.”
President Barack Obama said Merrick Garland – chief judge of the Washington appeals court and a former prosecutor – enjoyed respect from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Announcing the nomination in the White House Rose Garden, Barack Obama praised Merrick Garland’s decency, integrity and even-handedness during his long career in public service, and described him as an exemplary judge.
Merrick Garland was prepared to serve on the court immediately, he said.
Barack Obama expressed hope that Republicans would act in a bipartisan spirit and give Merrick Garland a “fair hearing”.
The nomination was the “greatest honor of my life”, Merrick Garland said.
Merrick Garland was appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1997, winning confirmation in a 76-23 Senate vote, and served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration prior to that.
Republicans again stressed they would defer action on a nomination to the Supreme Court until after the election.
Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell said the American people should have a voice in filling the vacancy. He also accused Barack Obama of making the nomination “in order to politicize it for purposes of the election”.