Eighty-five-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in hospital after fracturing three ribs in a fall at her court office.
The court’s oldest justice fell last night local time, the court said.
She called Supreme Court police to take her to George Washington University Hospital in Washington early this morning after experiencing discomfort overnight, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
She was admitted to the hospital for treatment and observation after tests showed she fractured three ribs.
In her absence, the court went ahead today with a courtroom ceremony welcoming new Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the court last month.
President Donald Trump and new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker were on hand.
Ms Ginsburg has had a series of health problems. She broke two ribs in a fall in 2012.
She has had two prior bouts with cancer and had a stent implanted to open a blocked artery in 2014.
She also was hospitalised after a bad reaction to medicine in 2009.
Ms Ginsburg has never missed Supreme Court arguments. The court won’t hear arguments again until November 26.
Rib fractures are common among older adults, particularly after falls. The severity depends in part on whether the ribs are cracked or broken all the way through, and how many are broken. The extent of Ms Ginsburg’s injury was not clear.
Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Ms Ginsburg rebuffed suggestions from some liberals that she should step down in the first two years of President Barack Obama’s second term, when Democrats also controlled the Senate and would have been likely to confirm her successor.
She already has hired clerks for the term that extends into 2020, indicating she has no plans to retire.
Ms Ginsburg leads the court’s liberal wing.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018