Talk of a potential vacancy on the Supreme Court and the corresponding possibility of a third Trump appointment has once again returned to the forefront.
On Friday, it was revealed that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently underwent three weeks of radiation treatment for a cancerous tumor found on her pancreas, and she appeared unable to walk unassisted after leaving a hospital lab appointment.
On Thursday, Ginsburg was seen leaving the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where, since August 5th, she had been receiving cancer treatment. As one would expect, Ginsburg appeared noticeably weakened and had to lean on a U.S. Marshal for support as she entered a private residence on the Upper East Side.
During her three weeks of treatment, she received radiation therapy and had a stent placed in her bile duct. The protocol itself has been described as being “cutting-edge new cancer treatment,” but also one that is not considered to be a cure for a pancreatic tumor.
The Supreme Court released a statement saying that Ginsburg “tolerated the treatment well.” It further stated that the doctors “treated [the tumor] definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere [in her body].”
Ongoing cancer battle
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, one cannot help but be amazed at Ginsburg’s ability to fight off cancer.
Let’s not forget that this represents her fourth run-in with the disease. First, she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999. She faced pancreatic cancer in 2009, was found to be suffering from lung cancer in 2018, and now she has had to address a malignant tumor on her pancreas.
Despite all of this, Ginsburg has hardly missed any time from work. In fact, it wasn’t until the operation that she had in December to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung that she was forced to miss oral arguents — for the first time in her 26 years of service on the Supreme Court.
Not so fast
Thus far, throughout all of the health issues she has faced, Ginsburg has time and again been able to thwart speculation that her retirement was imminent.
In July, she told NPR that she has no plans to retire and that she expects to continue as a Supreme Court justice until at least the age of 90, the same age at which the late Justice John Paul Stevens left the bench. As of now, there is no reason to doubt her.
Despite their obvious ideological differences, President Trump offered a statement of support regarding Ginsburg’s health situation, saying, “I’m hoping she’s going to be fine. She’s pulled through a lot. She’s strong. Very tough. We wish her well.”
Nonetheless, much discussion will continue to swirl about the possibility that a replacement for Ginsburg will need to be named in the near future, because, in reality, such a development would likely cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for decades to come, a prospect that strikes fear into the hearts of liberals everywhere.