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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg misses oral arguments for first time

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent from oral arguments Monday while recovering from surgery for lung cancer, a first in her 25-year career on the court.

Ginsburg, 85, underwent surgery Dec. 21 to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung. She was released five days later and has been recovering at home.

Chief Justice John Roberts made note of Ginsburg’s absence briefly at the beginning of the session. He said the justice “is unable to be present today but will participate” in deciding the two cases being argued by reading legal briefs and transcripts of the oral arguments.

Ginsburg’s absence was not unexpected and does not indicate her condition has worsened. However, Ginsburg’s ability to attend court following two previous bouts with cancer in 1999 and 2009, as well as the day after husband Martin’s death in 2010, had court observers wondering if she would show up.

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