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She’s Ba-ack! Ruth Bader Ginsburg Returns to Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is slated to return to work tomorrow. Ginsburg has been absent from Court functions since early December when she underwent surgery to remove cancerous masses from one of her lungs.

Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, broke three ribs in a fall last November. Her cancer was found as a result of tests after treatment for the broken ribs. She was previously treated for colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009. She also received a stent to improve blood flow in her right coronary artery in 2014.

Ginsburg has become the focus of much angst from both the left and the right. After the appointments of Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Court by President Trump, liberals rallied around Ginsburg in hopes that the 85-year-old justice would not be forced to resign before 2020. A 2018 movie even detailed Ginsburg’s early career as an attorney who worked against gender discrimination.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Ginsburg’s illness and subsequent absence have fueled speculation and conspiracy theories. When she did not make public appearances for several weeks, conspiracists on the right began to claim that Ginsburg was actually dead, but that her death was being kept secret to deny Donald Trump a third Supreme Court appointment.  

As Ginsburg returns to work, the Court has an easy week. The justices will hear only two 60-minute arguments. On Tuesday, the Court will hear Return Mail Inc. v. USPS, a case that asks whether government agencies can challenge private patents, and Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC, a trademark licensing case.

As a conservative and a constitutionalist, I often find myself at odds with Justice Ginsburg’s opinions on Supreme Court cases. Nevertheless, as a fellow human who abhors cancer, I wish her good health. While I would not be unhappy to see Justice Ginsburg retire, I cannot find it in myself to participate in the tinfoil hat crowd’s deathwatch.  

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