Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Hospital treatment for Supreme Court justice strikes fear into US liberals

Sarah Harvard

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is recovering in hospital after fracturing three ribs from a fall early Thursday morning, prompting panic from supporters worried about what it would mean or her seat on the court.

Known as one of the most liberal judges on the court, which has had its conservative majority restored by two nominations from Donal trump, Ms Ginsburg has become a feminist icon.

That led to people to offering to help with her treatment. “She can have all my ribs,” Rabia Chaudry, an attorney, tweeted.

She can have all my ribs

— rabia O'chaudry (@rabiasquared) November 8, 2018

Ms Ginsburg fell down in her office on Wednesday evening and decided to visit the hospital after experiencing discomfort the next morning.

“She went home, but after experiencing discomfort overnight, went to George Washington University Hospital early this morning,” the Supreme Court said in statement. “Tests showed that she fractured three ribs on her left side and she was admitted for observation and treatment.”

Ms Ginsburg, or more commonly known as “The Notorious RBG,” is serving her 25th year on the Supreme Court. She is the second, out of four women, to have been appointed into the highest court of law. The 85-year-old, one of four liberal judges on the bench, is hailed as a feminist hero by women across the country for her efforts in championing women’s rights in the US judicial system. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court Justice was also the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary highlighting her judicial career, marriage and her vigorous workout routine.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Ms Ginsburg to the high court. Prior to that, she served as the director for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project. Throughout her career, Ms Ginsburg has been persuasive in shaping laws in cases regarding gender discrimination, reproductive rights for women and LGBT rights. Some of her landmark cases include ruling: in favour of United States v Virginia in 1991, which cited the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to end male-only admissions into the Virginia Military Institute; in favour of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which granted the right for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states; and against Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016, which would have placed strict requirements and regulations on abortion providers.

Considering Ms Ginsburg’s history in defending gender-equality and civil rights, the news of her hospitalisation has prompted strong reactions from people on Twitter. In addition to their thoughts and prayers, some have outright offered their own ribs to her.

Wishing a swift recovery to RBG, who has had cancer twice and a heart stent put in, and until today, never missed a day on the bench.

— Irin Carmon (@irin) November 8, 2018

how have liberal activists not physically bubble wrapped RBG yet?

— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 8, 2018

I will donate all my ribs to RBG, any internal organs she needs too.

— Calvin (@calvinstowell) November 8, 2018

*Immediately rips out rib cage and gives it to RBG*

— Justin Kirkland (@justinkirkland4) November 8, 2018

Although she said she plans to serve as Supreme Court Justice until she is 90, and has even hired law clerks through 2020, there has been a lot of speculation regarding Ms Ginsburg’s health. She is currently the court’s oldest justice and has survived several health-related obstacles over the years: pancreatic and colon cancer, surgical heart procedure for her right coronary artery, and another case of fractured ribs.

The other concern involving RBG’s health is fears that her vacancy from the bench would provide the Trump administration another opportunity to appoint a conservative judge on the Supreme Court. The court currently leans more conservative with the recent appointment of controversial Justice Brett Kavanaugh October.

Another thing: holding our breaths that an 85-year-old survives another 2 years (at least) is human but it's not praxis. The future of the country can't just depend on one person's health. Whatever happens to RBG, we need to be planning for how we blow up the court as we know it.

— David Klion (@DavidKlion) November 8, 2018

maybe... just maybe... our system of democracy is a little fucked up when our rights depend on one woman’s survival??

anyway wishing RBG a speedy recovery 🌸🌺🌼

— ella dawson (@brosandprose) November 8, 2018

But as on Twitter user pointed out, the reactions to Ms Ginsburg’s treatment should serve as a cautionary tale of how some Americans depend on one woman’s health for the protection of their civil rights.

“Maybe…,” user Elle Dawson tweeted. “just maybe... our system of democracy is a little fucked up when our rights depend on one woman’s survival??”