Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the bench at the Supreme Court Tuesday morning to hear oral arguments for the first time since she announced she’d undergone surgery in December for cancer.
She smiled slightly to the audience and was wearing one of her decorative neck collars — a pearl jabot.
Ginsburg’s return comes in time for the last three months of oral arguments in a term that will feature big cases on partisan gerrymandering, religious liberty and the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Ginsburg missed two weeks of oral arguments in January in order to recover from the surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her lung. She followed the cases by reading transcripts and briefs from home, and she will vote in the cases she missed.
The cancer was first detected in November after Ginsburg fell in her office and was scanned as a part of her treatment for fractured ribs. After the surgery in December, the court announced that there was no remaining evidence of the disease and no other treatment was required.
“Recovery from these types of operations can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent.
“Given that Justice Ginsburg is 85 years old and also recently broken her ribs, seven weeks of recovery seems on track. Because there is no evidence of remaining disease, she should not need any more therapy, but may have but may have follow-up scans in the future,” he said.
Ginsburg was at Court last Friday to participate in the justices’ regular closed door conference, and she made an appearance in Washington on February 4 to support her daughter-in-law, soprano Patrice Michaels, who released an album of songs chronicling Ginsburg’s life.
She was captured on video by TMZ Monday night at the airport returning to Washington. She walked steadily at a brisk pace holding on to the arm of her security detail.