U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg applauds after new Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh announces that he is the first justice on the court to ever hire a staff of entirely female clerks as he addresses public swearing-in ceremonies in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized on Thursday after she fell in her office at the court the night before, fracturing three ribs, a court spokeswoman said.
The 85-year-old justice initially went home after the fall, but experienced discomfort overnight. She went to George Washington University Hospital on Thursday morning.
Tests showed she fractured three ribs on her left side and she was admitted for observation and treatment, said the spokeswoman, Kathy Arberg.
Ginsburg, who has served on the court since 1993, is the oldest of the nine justices and one of the court’s four liberals.
The court’s 5-4 conservative majority was restored last month when the U.S. Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s appointee Brett Kavanaugh after a contentious nomination process in which Kavanaugh denied a sexual assault allegation dating to the 1980s.
If Ginsburg were unable to continue serving on the court, Trump would likely move swiftly to replace her with a conservative, further shifting the court to the right.
The Republican president was scheduled to go to the court on Thursday for a formal ceremony seating Kavanaugh.
Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Alison Williams and Frances Kerry