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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: ‘I Am Very Much Alive’

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart of the liberal bloc on the High Court, has a very simple message for some of her harshest critics: she’s alive, and doesn’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon.

In an interview published on NPR Wednesday morning, Ginsburg recalled that a lawmaker once was giddy about the possibility of her death.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

“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. That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now dead himself,” Ginsburg said.

“And I am very much alive,” she added.

That senator was Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, who made headlines after telling a group of supporters that it was important to support the cause of appointing conservative justices in the future, stating that Ginsburg had “bad cancer, the kind you don’t get better from.” Bunning predicted she had nine months, at the longest, before she would die.

Bunning’s statement came in 2009, per reporting from Politico. In 2011, he himself passed away.

Ginsburg has been diagnosed multiple times with cancer. Her secret to beating the disease, she said, has been reciting a mantra that opera singer Marilyn Horne repeated to herself.

“She said, ‘I will live,’ not that ‘I hope I live,’ or ‘I want to live,’ but ‘I will live,'” Ginsburg said.

She also explained that the work helps keep her alive.

“The work is really what saved me, because I had to concentrate on reading the briefs, doing a draft of an opinion, and I knew it had to get done,” Ginsburg said. “So I had to get past whatever my aches and pains were just to do the job.”



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