Ginsburg back at home, expected at court next week

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has returned home after undergoing an operation to implant a heart stent to clear a blocked artery and is expected to hear oral arguments on Monday.

Ginsburg, 81, experienced discomfort during exercise with a personal trainer Tuesday and was rushed to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The stent procedure came after doctors discovered a blockage in her right coronary artery, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

Stents, a kind of mesh scaffolding, are inserted into about half a million people in the U.S. each year to prop open arteries clogged by years of cholesterol buildup. Doctors guide a narrow tube through a blood vessel in the groin or an arm, inflate a tiny balloon to flatten the blockage and then push the stent into place.

Ginsburg has had a series of health problems, including colorectal cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009. She was hospitalized after a bad reaction to medicine in 2009 and suffered broken ribs in a fall two years ago. Still, the court's oldest justice has not missed any time on the job since joining the high court.

Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, she has rejected suggestions from some liberals that she should step down and give President Barack Obama a chance to name her successor. She leads the court's liberal wing.

Her hospitalization just three weeks after elections handed Republicans control of the Senate raised anew the question of whether Obama would be able to appoint a like-minded replacement if she were to retire.

Ginsburg has repeatedly rebuffed suggestions that it's time to step down. She remains one of the court's fastest writers and has continued to make frequent public appearances around the country.

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