November 18, 2019 / 3:42 PM / 19 days ago

Justice Ginsburg appears at U.S. Supreme Court after illness

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives to speak at a discussion hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has faced various health scares over the past year, made a public appearance at the court on Monday after missing a day of oral arguments last week due to illness.

Ginsburg, 86, stepped up unassisted to the bench for a brief court session on Monday, sipped from a silver-colored cup during the session and - as has become normal in recent months - was helped down from the bench by her colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas, after it concluded.

She had a stomach bug and did not attend last Wednesday’s court session, according to a court spokeswoman. She did participate in the justices’ private meeting on Friday to discuss which new cases to hear.

Ginsburg’s health is closely watched because another Supreme Court vacancy would give President Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint a third justice to the nine-member court and move it further to the right. The court’s 5-4 conservative majority includes two justices named by Trump.

In August, Ginsburg underwent radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer. She had two cancerous nodules in her left lung removed last December, and had previously been treated for pancreatic cancer in 2009 and colon cancer in 1999.

The oldest justice on the court, Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 by Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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