Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in a new interview that she is “very much alive” after her health troubles panicked Democrats earlier this year.
The 86-year-old justice told NPR during an interview Tuesday that in order to stay positive, she follows the advice of opera singer Marilyn Horne, who was asked about her pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2005.
“And she said, ‘I will live,’ not that ‘I hope I live,’ or ‘I want to live,’ but ‘I will live,’ ” Justice Ginsburg said.
“The work is really what saved me,” she added, “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.”
In December, Justice Ginsburg underwent a lobectomy to remove cancerous nodules in her lungs, causing her to miss oral arguments for the first time in her 25 years on the bench. She previously beat pancreatic cancer in 2009 and colon cancer in 1999.
The liberal justice’s recent health concerns have stoked fears by Democrats who don’t want to see President Trump appoint yet a third conservative to the bench.
During her interview, Justice Ginsburg made a crack about the late Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, who came under fire in 2009 for saying the pancreatic cancer she had recently been diagnosed with would kill her within the year.
“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,” Justice Ginsburg recalled. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive.”
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