As if there wasn’t enough gut-punch news out of Washington the past few days, now comes word that Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery this morning to remove two malignant cancerous nodules from her left lung.
It’s the 85-year-old liberal hero’s third treatment for different cancers in 20 years, but a spokesperson said there is no evidence of any remaining disease after today’s operation.
It’s been a busy several months for the 25-year Supreme Court justice, with SCOTUS being in session since early October and two features about her life hitting theaters. The lauded documentary RBG premiered at Sundance, opened to strong numbers in limited release in May and is up for PGA and Critics’ Choice awards. The Mimi Leder-directed biopic On the Basis of Sex starring Felicity Jones, about Ginsburg’s early years battling the legal profession’s boys club, premiered at AFI Fest and opens in Christmas Day.
Bader has been a beacon of liberalism in her quarter-century as a SCOTUS justice. Her health scare is just the latest curveball in the high court’s wild year, which saw Neil Gorsuch confirmed in April to replace the late Antonin Scalia and the widely watched and scrutinized battle to get Senate confirmation for Brett Kavanaugh. Both, of course, were nomination by President Donald Trump, and they give court a solid 5-4 conservative majority. Fitness enthusiast Ginsburg has said before today’s events she has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Here is the full statement from a SCOTUS spokesperson:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy today at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung were discovered incidentally during tests performed at George Washington University Hospital to diagnose and treat rib fractures sustained in a fall on November 7. According to the thoracic surgeon, Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS, both nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant on initial pathology evaluation. Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease. Scans performed before surgery indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Currently, no further treatment is planned. Justice Ginsburg is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days. Updates will be provided as they become available.