Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she is cancer-free

By Caitlin Oprysko

Ruth Bader Ginsburg remains clear of cancer, the Supreme Court justice told CNN this week.

“I’m cancer free. That’s good,” she told the outlet in an interview published Wednesday.

Ginsburg disclosed her most recent brush with cancer last summer, completing a three-week course of radiation therapy to treat a malignant tumor on her pancreas. In a statement, the Supreme Court said the “tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body,” and that no further treatment was necessary.

The declaration comes after the 86-year-old justice, who has risen to an iconic status among liberals in recent years, dealt with a series of health issues over the past 12 or so months.

An appointee of President Bill Clinton, she missed oral arguments for the first time last January as she recovered from surgery to remove two malignant nodules in her left lung, which were discovered inspecting damage to her ribs from a fall.

She returned to the bench in February and received the pancreatic cancer diagnosis in August. Ginsburg had already beaten the disease twice, having been treated for colorectal cancer in 1999 and an earlier bout of pancreatic cancer in 2009.

She was hospitalized again just before last Thanksgiving with “chills and a fever,” but was released a day later.

Her interview with CNN comes as the court is set to resume oral arguments next week and could rule this year on a slate of hot button issues that include the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the fate of the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights and President Donald Trump’s financial records.

Ginsburg’s professed bill of clean health — which CNN noted she delivered while “sounding energized and speaking animatedly” — is sure to soothe fears on the left that she will remain in her seat on the court for the foreseeable future.

While Ginsburg was still recovering from lung cancer about a year ago, POLITICO reported that the White House had begun preparing for her possible death or departure from the court.

She has repeatedly batted down concerns regarding her health while maintaining an active schedule of public appearances and keeping up with court duties. She joked to NPR in July by recalling: “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.”

Groups on both sides of the aisle have taken immense interest in her health, as an open seat would allow Trump to make his third appointment to the highest court in the land, and his first to replace a liberal justice — an appointment that would further tilt the balance of the court for decades.

Despite blocking a Supreme Court nominee from former President Barack Obama in an election year in 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would move to confirm a Trump nominee should a seat on the court open up in 2020.