In late August 2019, the Supreme Court disclosed that Ginsburg had recently undergone a round of treatment for a malignant tumor found on her pancreas. The release stated that Ginsburg responded well to the treatment and was maintaining an active schedule. Per the Washington Post:
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today completed a three-week course of stereotactic ablative radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The focused radiation treatment began on August 5 and was administered on an outpatient basis to treat a tumor on her pancreas. The abnormality was first detected after a routine blood test in early July, and a biopsy performed on July 31 at Sloan Kettering confirmed a localized malignant tumor. As part of her treatment, a bile duct stent was placed.
“The Justice tolerated treatment well. She cancelled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, but has otherwise maintained an active schedule. The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time.”
Politicians and pundits have spent years discussing Ginsburg's health and potential inability to continue her tenure on the bench. During the 2016 election cycle, Ginsburg made waves by speaking out against a potential Trump presidency. Per the New York Times:
“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she said. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”
Then-candidate Trump took to Twitter to rebuke Ginsburg for her statements, which went against judicial precedent not to comment on political races. In the tweet, Trump suggested Ginsburg retire.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote in a 2017 op-ed for the Hill that Ginsburg should have retired years ago, during the Obama administration. By remaining on the Court, she has risked not only her legacy, but also judicial precedent in the country for decades to come.
It may also have been an equally huge loss for the of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who ignored increasing calls for her retirement during the Obama administration to avoid the prospect of the flipping of her seat from a liberal to a conservative member. That gamble — whatever calculation — could now cost a sweeping number of key cases hanging by a 5-4 margin, including much of the precedent built around Roe v. Wade, if not an outright overturning of that decision.
...Various advocates suggested for years that Ginsburg might be staying too long on the Court. Those suggestions became more and more blunt as Obama’s second term progressed. What began as polite suggestions that it “might be time to leave” became more and more pointed, if not panicked, in the last two years of the Obama term. Recently, CNN’s Chris Cuomo put it in the most vivid terms and asked a senator, now that Trump is president, “What if Ruth Bader Ginsburg runs out of gas?"
In an interview with NPR shortly before beginning treatment, Ginsburg made it clear she had no intention of leaving the bench.
"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," Ginsburg said. "That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I," she added with a smile, "am very much alive."