The battle over the U.S. Supreme Court hit a new development recently with the abrupt revelation that popular, prominent liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been treated for pancreatic cancer. This weekend, she insisted in an interview with NPR reporters at the National Book Festival that she’s doing well and preparing to return to work following the brief, focused cancer treatment plan getting revealed a little over a week ago at this point. Over the years, she’s received cancer treatment several times, but a court spokeswoman insisted this time around that there was no apparent evidence of the disease’s presence in other parts of her body.
At the National Book Festival this weekend, discussing her condition and the upcoming Supreme Court term that starts this fall, Ginsburg quipped:
‘This audience can see that I am alive… I will be prepared when the time comes. I love my job, it’s the best and hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s kept me going through four cancer bouts.’
She added that she is “on [her] way to being very well.”
She’s keeping up a relatively rigorous public schedule going forward as the next Supreme Court term gets only closer. After completing work at her office the day she finished this most recent cancer treatment, she completed two days of events in Buffalo this past week and is set for a lecture event at the 18,000-seat Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas, where she’s set to be introduced by former President Bill Clinton himself, who first nominated her to the Supreme Court.
In July, Ginsburg insisted that she’d be serving as long as she could, which remains indefinitely for now. As she put it:
‘I was okay last term; I expect to be okay next term, and after that, we’ll just have to see.’
In another particularly high-profile recent piece of commentary, Ginsburg shared an anecdote that began following one of her previous bouts of cancer:
‘There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months. That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive.’
The Senator was Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning, who in a statement following the initial commentary Ginsburg is referring to apologized if he’d “offended” her with his grim, baseless pronouncement about her supposed set near future. The statement apparently misspelled her name.
Were she to prove unable to serve for whatever reason, President Donald Trump would get a chance to nominate a third justice to the court. One of those seats he filled first got vacated under President Barack Obama, but Senate Republicans refused to allow Obama’s nomination to fill the seat to actually go through. The other seat was filled by Brett Kavanaugh, who was credibly accused of sexual misconduct during his confirmation process, which he responded to with lengthy public ranting including such “highlights” as “I like beer!” shouts — so there’s not exactly a good track record here.
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