Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she plans to stay on the Supreme Court even though she is undergoing treatment for a recurrence of liver cancer, according to the Associated Press.
The 87-year-old justice announced last week that she has been receiving chemotherapy since mid-May for liver lesions discovered during a scan in February, as Reuters reported.
Doctors had reportedly tried immunotherapy to shrink the lesions before resorting to chemotherapy, according to NPR, but Ginsburg said that her latest scan showed that the size of the lesions has been reduced considerably as a result of the switch, Politico noted.
Cancer “clearly” incurable
Ginsburg also reported that she has been tolerating the chemotherapy well and feels that the cancer has stabilized.
The octogenarian jurist has been intermittently battling a number of different cancers since 1999, when she was first diagnosed with colon cancer, according to the AP. She has also had bouts with pancreatic and lung cancers, which were all successfully treated at the time, but which are also known for recurrences that can take years to emerge.
Dr. Alan Venook, a pancreatic cancer specialist at the University of California, speculated to the AP that the fact that Ginsburg’s cancer has spread to her liver signifies that “clearly, she’s got incurable disease now.”
Venook, it should be noted, is not in any way involved in Ginsburg’s care.
Ginsburg insisted, however, that she remains able to continue her work on the Supreme Court at “full steam” and doesn’t plan to retire. It remains unclear how long that will be the case.
“Above average in many ways”
Venook also opined that from what he can tell, Ginsburg is “above average in many ways” and that she “has done remarkably well with all her treatments so far. There’s no reason to think she would die imminently.”
Pancreatic cancer patients only live on average about one year after their diagnosis, but Ginsburg has been beating this particular form of the disease since 2009, as the AP noted.
According to The New York Times, if Ginsburg should be unable to continue on the court, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows has said that the president would immediately nominate a replacement, according to the AP. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has also repeatedly pledged that he would work to confirm a prospective Trump’s nominee without delay, despite the fact that it is an election year, as NPR noted.
But it’s clear Ginsburg is determined to hang on as long as she possibly can in the hopes that Trump will be defeated in November and that a Democratic president would be the one to nominate her successor, should the need arise.