By Frank James

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized overnight after falling from her jetliner seat as she prepared to head to London where she and other justices were to represent the American judiciary at the inaugural ceremonies for Britain's brand new Supreme Court institution.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was released from hospital after passing out after she boarded a flight to London. (Charles Dharapak / AP Photo)

According to a statement from U.S. Supreme Court spokeswoman, Ginsburg's physicians determined she became drowsy from the interaction between sleeping medication and a cold drug she took.


Here's the press release the Supreme Court issued Thursday morning:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was taken to the Washington Hospital Center at approximately 11:15 p.m. Wednesday evening after an apparent adverse reaction to a sleeping aid combined with cold medication she took immediately after boarding an overnight flight bound for London. Prior to the plane taking off, the Justice experienced extreme drowsiness causing her to fall from her seat. Paramedics were called and the Justice was taken to the Washington Hospital Center as a precaution.
Justice Ginsburg was evaluated at the hospital and she was found to be in stable health. Doctors attributed her symptoms to a reaction caused by the combination of a prescription sleeping aid and an over-the-counter cold medication. She was admitted overnight for observation and was released this morning.

As Scotusblog notes:

This marked the second time in recent days that the 76-year-old Justice was hospitalized after reacting to medication. Late in September, she stayed overnight after feeling ill an hour after receiving an injection for an iron deficiency. She returned to work the following day...

Scotusblog also reports this:

...Justice Stephen G. Breyer was also on the sane fight, but he rescheduled after Justice Ginsburg had fallen ill. He took a later flight. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justice Antonin Scalia are also attending the ceremonies in Britain. Because of the time demands for flights and the schedule for the ceremonies, Justice Ginsburg's hospital stay apparently will prevent her from attending.

The fact that Breyer and Ginsburg were on the same flight raises the question, at least for me, of whether Supreme Court justices should be flying together. I realize flying is the safest way to travel but disasters still happen. The loss of two or more justices at the same time could raise significant problems.

Also, is it just the liberals on the court who fly together or do the conservatives do it too? And does this practice of flying together depend on which party the president belongs to?

categories: Supreme Court

11:45 - October 15, 2009