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Ginsburg due back 18 days after cancer surgery

  • Story Highlights
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expects to return to the bench by February 23
  • The only woman on the Supreme Court is hospitalized with pancreatic cancer
  • It is her second bout with cancer
  • She was treated for colon cancer in 1999-2000
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By Bill Mears
CNN Supreme Court Producer
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery, plans to be back on the bench when the Supreme Court resumes oral arguments in 17 days.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also had surgery for colorectal cancer in September 1999.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also had surgery for colorectal cancer in September 1999.

Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said Friday that the 75-year-old justice is expected to be on hand for the next public session February 23, when the court will hear appeals in two cases.

Ginsburg remains hospitalized at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center a day after undergoing surgery for the disease.

Sources close to Ginsburg say that she continues to do well after surgery and that doctors and family remain cautiously optimistic. Those sources said she was resting comfortably and speaking with her staff about the court's upcoming caseload. Video Watch friends talk about Ginsburg's resilience »

The justice could be released from the hospital next week. A court statement Thursday said she will probably remain in the hospital for seven to 10 days, according to her attending surgeon, Dr. Murray Brennan.

"Justice Ginsburg had no symptoms prior to the incidental discovery of the lesion during a routine annual check-up in late January at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland," the court said.

The justices are on a month-long recess but return for a closed door conference February 20. There is no word on whether Ginsburg will attend that meeting, among just the nine members of the court, to go over pending appeals.

President Obama was hoping to speak with Ginsburg by phone later Friday, said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Ginsburg underwent surgery for colorectal cancer in September 1999. Court sources said she continued to work on pending cases while in her hospital bed and her subsequent recovery.

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Less than a month later, she appeared in public to give a speech and said, "I am still mending but have progressed steadily." She never missed a day on the bench.

The Brooklyn, New York, native has been on the federal bench since 1980, the past 15 on the high court, where she is the he only female justice.

All About U.S. Supreme CourtRuth Bader GinsburgPancreatic Cancer

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