Justice Ginsburg misses Supreme Court oral argument for first time

Image: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington on June 1, 2
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington on June 1, 2017. Copyright Jonathan Ernst Reuters file
By Pete Williams with NBC News Politics
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A court spokeswoman said Ginsburg, who is 85, was working from home while recuperating from surgery.

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WASHINGTON — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not at the Supreme Court on Monday, missing a courtroom argument for the first time since she became a justice 25 years ago.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said Ginsburg, who is 85, was working from home while recuperating from surgery. Doctors removed a portion of her lung on December 21 after cancerous nodules were detected, and she was released from the New York hospital four days later.

Ginsburg will participate in deciding the cases argued Monday by reading the legal briefs and a transcript of the oral argument, Arberg said. There was no word on when she would be back on the bench.

She has made a point of returning to the court promptly after two earlier surgical procedures for cancer in 1999 and 2009, and she was undoubtedly aware of the potent symbolism of those appearances.

The cancerous spots on her lungs were detected when she sought treatment on November 7 for three ribs that were fractured when she fell in her court office.

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