clock menu more-arrow no yes

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery for malignant lung growths

The 85-year-old Supreme Court justice is “resting comfortably” after the surgical procedure.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Gives Lecture At The Georgetown University Law Center Alex Wong/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery in New York City to remove two malignant nodules on her left lung.

A press release from the Supreme Court noted that the nodules were discovered during treatment for rib fractures caused by a fall last month.

Ginsburg’s surgeon said the operation was successful and that “Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease.” She will remain at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a top cancer treatment center in New York, for the next few days.

Ginsburg, 85, is the oldest serving justice. She was appointed in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton and is one of four reliably liberal votes in a Supreme Court that now has a 5-4 conservative majority.

If she has to step down or dies suddenly, President Trump would be able to make a third appointment for an even stronger conservative majority. So her health is carefully scrutinized by people on both sides of the aisle.

Ginsburg has had her share of health scares. She has survived both colon and pancreatic cancer, the latter of which has a low survival rate.

Most recently, Ginsburg has been traveling to promote On the Basis of Sex, a movie starring Felicity Jones that dramatizes her early life as one of the few female law students at Harvard — and then as a rising star litigator taking on gender discrimination issues.

Read the full press release from the Supreme Court below.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy today at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung were discovered incidentally during tests performed at George Washington University Hospital to diagnose and treat rib fractures sustained in a fall on November 7. According to the thoracic surgeon, Valerie W. Rusch, MD, FACS, both nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant on initial pathology evaluation. Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease. Scans performed before surgery indicated no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Currently, no further treatment is planned. Justice Ginsburg is resting comfortably and is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days. Updates will be provided as they become available.

Sign up for the newsletter The Weeds

Understand how policy impacts people. Delivered Fridays.