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Ruth Bader Ginsburg has cancer. Again.
The Supreme Court’s oldest justice announced in a statement Friday that she is undergoing biweekly chemotherapy for a “recurrence of cancer.” This cancer was first detected after a periodic scan in February, followed by a biopsy that found lesions in her liver. Ginsburg started chemotherapy in May.
“The chemotherapy course, however, is yielding positive results,” said the 87-year-old justice, who has served on the high court since 1993. “Satisfied that my treatment course is now clear, I am providing this information.”
“I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam,” she added. “I remain fully able to do that.”
Democrats have long feared what the Supreme Court would look like without Ginsburg, a liberal icon affectionately referred to as “RBG.” If President Donald Trump wins the 2020 election, he may be able to choose her replacement. With just four reliable members, including Ginsburg, the liberal wing of the Supreme Court is already in the minority.
Abortion rights activists are particularly concerned about the survival of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Republicans have made no secret of their desire to place conservatives on the bench who will overturn it.
And Ginsberg’s health is a frequent source of worry: She’s had both pancreatic cancer and colon cancer and had tumors removed from her lung in 2018.
Ginsburg’s latest bout of cancer is not connected to her recent hospitalizations to remove gallstones and to treat an infection. During one of those trips, in May, Ginsburg called into Supreme Court oral arguments from the hospital and mounted an impassioned defense of women’s access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Cover: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks during a discussion on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)