Ruth Bader Ginsburg fractures ribs, is hospitalized

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke before a sold out audience of 1,400 at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Updated Nov. 11, 3:45 p.m.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to a hospital Thursday with fractured ribs after falling in her office the previous day.

Ginsburg, 85, awoke Thursday feeling pain and went to George Washington University hospital, the Supreme Court said in a statement sent to news outlets. Medical staff said she fractured three ribs on her left side.

Known as RBG, Ginsburg is the oldest justice on the court and leads its liberal wing. She is one of three Jewish justices on the court.

Ginsburg was due to attend the investiture of the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, on Thursday.

Conservatives on the Supreme Court have a 5-4 majority. If Ginsburg were to retire, President Donald Trump would likely appoint a conservative to replace her.

I wish her refuah shlaimah, complete healing,” said Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue in Bethesda, after hearing of Ginsburg’s hospitalization.

“As the father of a girl who dressed as Justice Ginsburg for a Jewish hero event, I wish her a long life. As a progressive rabbi, I pray that the voice she brings to her interpretation of the law stays strong.”

Jody Rabhan, director of government relations and advocacy for the National Council of Jewish Women, said she’s concerned about Ginsburg’s health.

“We hope she’s back in the court soon,” Rabhan said. “We’re thinking positively.”

Rabhan said NCJW was focused more on lower court vacancies than on a possible opening on the Supreme Court.

“It is the federal courts where most decisions that affect people in their everyday lives are made.”

Maryland state Del. Ariana Kelly (D-District 16) said Ginsburg “is an inspiration for many of us in the Jewish community. Long term I don’t want to speculate on her recovery.”

Kelly said she is concerned with what Ginsburg’s absence might mean for marginalized groups, including Jews. “With any Supreme Court vacancy there is a lot of fear. Right now, the Supreme Court is already increasingly conservative and hostile to all sorts of groups.”

As a politician, Kelly said she has found inspiration in Ginsburg’s accomplishments. “Her body of work is tremendous. [She] is an inspiration to the Jewish community, to women and to people everywhere.”

This would not be Ginsburg’s first absence from the bench after sustaining serious injuries. In 1999, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer. She didn’t miss a day on the bench.

In 2009, she underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer and was back at court 10 days later. She has said that she would continue to serve as long as she was mentally sharp enough to perform her duties.

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