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US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg hospitalized after fracturing 3 ribs in fall

US SUPREME COURT JUSTICE GINSBURG HOSPITALIZED AFTER FRACTURING 3 RIBS IN FALL
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in taking a new family photo with her fellow justices at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 1, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

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.

Ginsburg has had a series of health problems. She broke two ribs in a fall in 2012. She has had two prior bouts with cancer and had a stent implanted to open a blocked artery in 2014. She also was hospitalized after a bad reaction to medicine in 2009.

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.

Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg rebuffed suggestions from some liberals that she should step down in the first two years of President Barack Obama's second term, when Democrats also controlled the Senate and would have been likely to confirm her successor.

She already has hired clerks for the term that extends into 2020, indicating she has no plans to retire.

In her absence, the court was going ahead Thursday with a courtroom ceremony welcoming new Justice Kavanaugh. President Donald Trump and new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker were expected to attend.

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