Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Not Fighting 'For Her Life' With Pneumonia, Despite Outlet's Claim

Stephen Silver

After undergoing surgery in December to remove cancerous nodules from her lungs, as reported by Mercury News, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is recovering well and has no further signs of cancer, the court announced in an official statement last Friday.

"Her recovery from surgery is on track. Post-surgery evaluations indicate no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required," spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said last week, per the New York Times, adding that Ginsburg would spend this week working from her home and following the "briefs and the transcripts of oral arguments" from the cases being argued before the court.

But now, one corner of the conservative media is promoting an apparently baseless report that Ginsburg is in worse health than has been reported.

The Santa Monica Observer, a website with a reputation for having something of a dodgy relationship with the facts, reported this week that Ginsburg is "stricken with pneumonia" and "fights for her life." The report, which cites no source, is contradictory to every other media outlet's reporting on the current state of Ginsburg's health. Several media accounts, including NBC News, have stated that patients Ginsburg's age are "at risk" for pneumonia, but none have reported that she actually has contracted it.

The Observer claims to have "broken" the story last September that Ginsburg had cancer, months before the diagnosis was publicly announced in November. But that's likely not true, either. As Snopes pointed out at the time, the September report claimed that Ginsburg had a suffered a "re-occurrence of malignant melanoma" and would announce her retirement.

But the actual diagnosis, which didn't come until two months later than the report, was of nodules on her lungs, a completely different and much less deadly variety of cancer from malignant melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer. Ginsburg wasn't even hospitalized until November, and that was after a fall. And, contrary to the September report, she has not announced plans to retire, instead repeatedly indicating that she plans to return to the bench.

Santa Monica Next reported in 2016 on the Santa Monica Observer's long history of "fake news," noting that the site reported in 2016 that President Trump was nominating Kanye West as undersecretary of the interior.