U.S. Justice Ginsburg misses oral arguments with illness

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen in this file photo taken in Washington, D.C, Sept 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, missed oral arguments in court on Wednesday due to illness.

The 86-year-old has a stomach bug, a court spokeswoman said.

Speaking in court, Chief Justice John Roberts said Ginsburg was “indisposed due to illness.”

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.

If Ginsburg, one of four liberal justices on the nine-member Supreme Court, were unable to continue serving, Republican President Donald Trump could replace her with a conservative, further shifting the court to the right.

Trump has added two justices since becoming president in January 2017, cementing its 5-4 conservative majority.

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

During oral arguments, Supreme Court justices have the opportunity to directly ask questions of attorneys representing parties to a case.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Bernadette Baum