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Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent summer vacation in radiation therapy

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg attends 2018 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at White House in Washington.
Not going gentle into that good night.
By Ephrat Livni
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The US Supreme court today announced that justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent treatment for a newly-discovered tumor.

However, as the jurist herself recently insisted, she is still “very much alive.”

A biopsy taken late last month revealed a localized malignant tumor on Ginsburg’s pancreas. She received outpatient radiation treatment at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City beginning Aug. 5. “The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time,” the court states. It notes too that “[t]he Justice tolerated treatment well.”

Ginsburg has struggled with cancer for many years, and she’s always worked anyway, even from her hospital bed. The justice has said of her legal labors, “The work is really what saved me, because I had to concentrate on reading the briefs, doing a draft of an opinion, and I knew it had to get done. So I had to get past whatever my aches and pains were just to do the job.”

Although she had to cancel her annual visit to Santa Fe to address the latest health development in what had been a long string of stressful moments, Ginsburg reportedly remained active throughout the weeks of treatment. There is little doubt that, to the extent it depends on her will, the Notorious RBG will be in court when it’s next in session in October.

Despite or because of years of speculation about when the second female justice appointed to the court will finally retire, Ginsburg is determined to work for as long as possible. In a eulogy for the late justice John Paul Stevens last month, she recounted how she recently told Stevens she’d like to work for as long as he did, 35 years. He replied: “stay longer.”

Ginsburg was appointed by US president Bill Clinton in 1993. She’s still got more than a decade to go before she can match, much less beat Steven’s three-and-a-half decade stay.

Still, the justice doesn’t view survival as optional. Her motto is, “I will live.”

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