Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:31pm EDT
By James Vicini
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was taken on Thursday to a Washington hospital for evaluation after she experienced lightheadedness and fatigue, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said in a statement.
Ginsburg, 76, was taken to the Washington Hospital Center Thursday evening as a precaution after feeling ill in her chambers following an iron sucrose infusion earlier in the day to treat anemia, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
Ginsburg has been reliable liberal vote since her selection in 1993 by former Democratic President Bill Clinton, but if she were to resign it would not likely change the court's balance.
In recent years, the court has issued many divided opinions on a 5-4 vote in favor of conservatives, and that was expected to continue when the new session starts October 5 with Justice Sonia Sotomayor now on the court.
Ginsburg underwent a comprehensive health assessment in July 2009 involving imaging scans and comprehensive blood tests, the court spokeswoman said.
"The result of this evaluation was that she was in completely normal health with the exception of a low red blood cell count caused by deficiency of iron. Intravenous iron therapy was administered in a standard fashion," Arberg said.
After given an infusion of iron sucrose on Thursday, Ginsburg felt faint, developed light headedness and fatigue.
Arberg said medical assistance was summoned from the Office of the Attending Physician, which provides medical care for members of Congress and the Supreme Court. The medical evaluation disclosed that Ginsburg had a slightly low blood pressure, Arberg said.
"She was monitored at the Court, blood tests were performed and she was found to be in stable health," the spokeswoman said. Fluids were administered and her symptoms improved, but she was taken as a precaution for evaluation at the nearby Washington Hospital Center, the statement said.
Questions were raised about how much longer Ginsburg will stay in her job after she underwent surgery in February for pancreatic cancer. She did not miss any public sessions and returned to the bench 2 1/2 weeks after surgery.
Ginsburg had colon cancer in 1999, and did not miss any sessions then either.
(Writing by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Jackie Frank)