The Supreme Court disclosed this afternoon that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery today after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Ginsburg, 75, had the surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and will remain in the hospital for seven to 10 days, according to the court's announcement, which also said the cancer is apparently in the early stages.
Appointed to the court by Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg had surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment for colon cancer in 1999.
She is part of the court's liberal wing and is one of five justices -- a majority of the court -- who are in their 70s or older. John Paul Stevens, the cornerstone of the liberal wing, is the oldest at 88.
Because of that, President Obama could have several appointments to the high court. And because the Senate Judiciary Committee is so riven by partisan conflict, any confirmation process is expected to be contentious.
Opening his daily briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs this afternoon passed along President Obama's best wishes to Ginsburg and her family and wishes for a speedy recovery.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.