Earlier today, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice, went into surgery to remove two cancerous growths from her lower left lung, the Washington Post confirmed via a Supreme Court spokeswoman the same day. The operation was a success—“post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease,” a court press release stated—and the justice is now recovering and “resting comfortably,” the spokeswoman added.
Ginsburg went into surgery at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; according to the statement, she’ll remain there for the next few days. Per The Guardian, her doctor was thoracic surgeon Valerie W. Rusch, whose bio describes her as “among the first women in the country to be board certified in this specialty”—so Ginsburg was in good company as among the first women nominated to the Supreme Court. (In fact, she was just the second, after Sandra Day O’Connor.)
Doctors first discovered the “nodules,” as they were described in the court’s release, during scans performed after Ginsburg fell in her office in early November, resulting in three rib fractures. Additional scans apparently gave no indication of other growths—so we can all breathe a sigh of relief, especially considering this is Ginsburg’s third cancer, after diagnoses of colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009, both of which were also successfully treated, according to Slate. And there were the broken ribs.
But as Ginsburg’s personal trainer Bryant Johnson recently told Vox, “She’s tough as nails.” After all, while facing down three broken ribs and a cancer diagnosis, she also made time to hang out with number-one fans Armie Hammer and Justin Theroux during their frolic across Washington, D.C., to strategically coordinate looks with actor Felicity Jones, who plays her younger self in the new film On the Basis of Sex, and to attend the accompanying premiere for the movie, which opens wide on Christmas day.
All this is to say, the Washington Post noted that it’s “unclear whether” Ginsburg will be fit to return to work by January 7, when the Supreme Court is next scheduled to hear a case—but there’s no reason to think she’ll let an operation hold her back.