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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Justice Ginsburg Discloses June Rib Injury


This year, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continued to work after breaking two ribs during one of the Supreme Court's busiest months, and just a few weeks before the court released its landmark decision on President Obama's health care law.

Justice Ginsburg spoke about the injury for the first time in an interview with Reuters, published on Wednesday.

When Justice Ginsburg fell at her home on the evening of June 4, she initially “thought it was nothing,” she told Reuters.

Nevertheless, she went to the Office of the Attending Physician at the Capitol the next day, where she learned she had fractured two of her ribs.

She went back to work that same day, traveled to New York later that week and was on the bench on June 11, when the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals by several Guantánamo Bay detainees.

“She kept with her schedule as usual,” said Kathleen L. Arberg, the spokeswoman for the Suprem e Court. “She didn't skip a beat.”

This is not the first health issue that Justice Ginsburg has faced, nor the most grave. She was successfully treated for colon cancer in 1999, and in February 2009, underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. In the interview with Reuters, Justice Ginsburg, 79, who is the oldest justice on the court, described her health today as “great.”

Justice Ginsburg also told Reuters that she intends to serve on the court for at least three more years, for a total of 23 years - equal to the time Justice Louis Brandeis spent on the bench.

In the interview, Justice Ginsburg also refused to elaborate on the court's decision to uphold the health care reform law, including the individual mandate. It is a tradition among the Supreme Court's justices not to comment further on the court's opinions.

She also declined to speak about any drama that might have unfolded behind the scenes, including about a report, first published by CB S News, that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. originally voted to overturn the health care law, but later changed his mind.

“Don't ask me if the chief switched sides,” she said in the interview, before she had been asked the question.