Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Tuesday that she was feeling “very good” after undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer last month and that she has been focusing on work to distract herself from any health challenges.
“I am pleased to say that I am feeling very good tonight,” Ginsburg, 86, told a crowd gathered at an event for the Clinton Foundation.
The Supreme Court announced last month that Ginsburg had undergone three weeks of radiation treatment for a tumor that was discovered on her pancreas. Doctors found no further evidence of cancer in her body and said that no further treatment was required at the time.
Ginsburg, who is the oldest member of the nation’s highest court, has fought cancer four times since she was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton. In December she had two malignant growths removed from her lung.
Despite the health woes, the justice has rarely altered her work schedule and has pledged to remain on the bench as long as she is capable. On Tuesday, she told NPR’s Nina Totenberg that she kept working through her surgeries to help move past any lingering pain.
“I think my work is what saved me because, instead of dwelling on my physical discomforts,” Ginsburg said, “if I have an opinion to write or I have a brief to read, I know I’ve just got to get it done, and so I have to get over it.”
She said she didn’t cancel the appearance on Tuesday night because she had promised the Clinton Library that she’d be there, prompting the crowd to break into applause and chants of “RBG! RBG!”
Former President Clinton praised Ginsburg’s work over the past 26 years during the event, pointing to her long history of landmark opinions and blistering dissents. He also noted that Ginsburg, who was just the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court, “had already proved herself a hero” long before she was selected to join the bench.
Late last month, Ginsburg made her first appearance after the pancreatic cancer treatment and referenced her cult status among liberals and her iconic nickname.
“It was beyond my wildest imagination that I would one day become the Notorious RBG,” she said. “If I am notorious, it is because I had the good fortune to be alive and a lawyer in the 1960s then and continuing through the 1970s. For the first time in history, it became possible to urge before courts successfully that equal justice under law requires all arms of government to regard women as persons equal in stature to men.”