Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced that she is again undergoing treatment for cancer — but she has no intention of retiring right now.
“I have often said I would remain a member of the court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that,” Ginsburg said Friday in a statement.
The 87-year-old justice is undergoing chemotherapy every two weeks to treat lesions on her liver. Ginsburg said that she started the treatment in mid-May. “A periodic scan in February followed by a biopsy revealed lesions on my liver,” Ginsburg said. “My recent hospitalizations to remove gall stones and treat an infection were unrelated to this recurrence.”
“My most recent scan on July 7 indicated significant reduction of the liver lesions and no new disease. I am tolerating chemotherapy well and am encouraged by the success of my current treatment,” she added.
Ginsburg, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, has battled several forms of cancer over the last twenty years. In the summer of 2019, she was treated for pancreatic cancer. In January, she told CNN that she was “cancer free.”
One cancer expert says the news of Ginsburg’s cancer recurrence isn’t surprising. “What I’m interpreting from everything is that this is a recurrence of pancreatic cancer and it has spread to her liver. That’s a very normal process that’s common with pancreatic cancer,” Dr. John Marshall, chief of hematology-oncology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington told Reuters. Marshall is not treating Ginsburg.
Ginsburg’s first encounter with cancer was in 1999. She first beat colon cancer, then pancreatic cancer in 2009, and lung cancer in 2018.
Time on the court running out
Of course, if Ginsburg were to retire now, Democrats would be under enormous pressure to win in November. If President Trump is able to appoint Ginsburg’s replacement, the court will swing conservative 6-3. For Democrats, that’s a nightmare — although as recent SCOTUS decisions have demonstrated, their fears are rather overblown.
Ginsburg, a liberal justice, is doing everything she can to hold out for a Democrat president. But while Ginsburg may emerge from this as a 5-time champion over cancer, she isn’t getting any younger.
Sadly, Ginsburg’s dedication to the cause has likely robbed her of her retirement, and it may be for nothing.
She is counting on Joe Biden to win in November — and that’s far from a sure bet.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is getting prepared for all outcomes. Trump has promised to release a new list of conservative Supreme Court candidates by September 1.