Ruth Bader Ginsburg had two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung on Friday, according to a statement released by the Supreme Court. The procedure took place at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where doctors found no evidence of “any remaining disease” in Ginsburg’s lung or elsewhere. “Justice Ginsburg is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days,” the statement read. Liberals, feel free to exhale.
BREAKING: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy in NYC today to remove two nodules from her lung, which were determined to be malignant. "Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease," the court's public information office reports. pic.twitter.com/t4gGzi9Z2L
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 21, 2018
Ginsburg, 85, is the oldest justice on the Supreme Court, five years clear of Stephen Breyer, a Clinton appointee. If Ginsburg were to die while Trump is in office, it would be a catastrophic blow for liberals, solidifying the conservative majority on the court, potentially for decades.
Despite not even being in office for two years, Trump has already appointed two new justices. Neil Gorsuch, who filled the seat left vacant after the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016, is 51. Brett Kavanaugh, who filled the seat of Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement this past summer, is 53. In eight years in office, President Obama was only able to appoint two justices: Elena Kagan, 58, and Sonia Sotomayor, 64. After Scalia died, Obama nominated Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. circuit court, to take his place, but the Republican-controlled Senate refused to give him a confirmation hearing. Trump nominated Gorsuch to fill the vacancy barely a week after taking office in January 2017. He was confirmed that April.
The operation on Friday marks Ginsburg’s second health scare in as many months. In November, she fractured three ribs after falling in her office. The incident may have been a blessing in disguise, however, as the cancerous growths removed Friday were initially discovered while she was being evaluating after falling last month.
In July, Ginsburg said she expects to serve on the court for five more years.