Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missed Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court argument session, staying home with what a court spokeswoman said was a stomach virus.
Chief Justice John Roberts said from the bench that Ginsburg, 86, was “indisposed due to illness” but would participate in the day’s two cases based on the briefs and transcripts.
Ginsburg, a four-time cancer survivor, had actively taken part in the previous day’s arguments, including a clash over President Donald Trump’s bid to end a deferred-deportation program for 660,000 young immigrants.
Until this year, Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing, had never missed a Supreme Court argument because of illness. She skipped two weeks in January after having two cancerous growths removed from a lung. She later took part in the court’s decisions in those cases.
Ginsburg has become a celebrity among liberals, inspiring books and memes and drawing raucous applause at her public appearances. Some 16,000 people attended when she appeared in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September, with former President Bill Clinton, who appointed her to the court in 1993.
She said in August she is “on my way to being very well” after her most recent bout with cancer, a pancreatic tumor the court said had been successfully treated with a three-week course of radiation.
Her health is being closely watched in part because of the potential that Trump could shift the court sharply to the right if he had a chance to nominate her successor. Ginsburg is the court’s oldest justice.
The justices are next scheduled to take the bench on Monday. That will be a brief session in which they won’t be hearing arguments but could issue the first opinions of the nine-month term.
Justice Clarence Thomas missed the first day of the court’s term in early October with what Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg described at the time as “flu-like” symptoms.