WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was released from the hospital Sunday after treatment for chills and a fever, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said. “She is home and doing well,” said the spokeswoman, Kathleen Arberg.
Ginsburg’s symptoms abated after treatment with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, Arberg said. The justice had been admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Friday night after an initial evaluation at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington.
Ginsburg, 86, has had surgery for lung cancer and radiation treatment for pancreatic cancer in the last year. Over the years, she has also had surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009 and treatment for colon cancer in 1999.
Ginsburg is the senior member of the court’s four-member liberal wing. She has repeatedly vowed to stay on the court as long as her health holds and she remains mentally sharp.
She is a formidable presence on the bench, asking pointed and searching questions. But she moves gingerly, and Justice Clarence Thomas often takes her hand to help her descend the three steps behind the bench after arguments.
Were she to leave the court, President Donald Trump would have the opportunity to nominate a third justice, having appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. A successful nomination would almost certainly move the court further to the right.
There is little question that Senate Republicans would confirm a third Trump nominee even in the waning days of his first term. “Oh, we’d fill it,” Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said in May.
Senate Republicans took a different approach in 2016, refusing to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland in the last year of President Barack Obama’s second term.
McConnell and his allies say the two situations are different. Where one party controls the Senate and the other the presidency, as in 2016, they say, vacancies should not be filled in a presidential election year. Where the same party controls both the Senate and presidency, they argue, confirmations may proceed.
Democrats say this is hairsplitting hypocrisy that damages the legitimacy of the court.