WASHINGTON (JTA) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants you to know she is “very much alive,” but that one of her erstwhile well-wishers is not so lucky.
“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, 86, told NPR in an interview posted Wednesday. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead.”
Ginsburg paused to giggle before adding, “And I am very much alive.”
In 2009, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., said of Ginsburg, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, “Even though she was operated on, usually nine months is the longest that anybody would live.” Ginsburg was back at work 18 days after her surgery.
Bunning, a former All-Star pitcher for Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, later apologized.
“It is great to see her back at the Supreme Court today and I hope she recovers quickly,” Bunning said at the time. “My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”
Bunning died in 2017.
The 2009 occurrence was Ginsburg’s second bout with cancer. She survived colorectal cancer in 1999 and last year dealt with lung cancer.
Ginsburg, one of three Jewish justices, is also part of its liberal minority. President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, another Kentucky Republican, have said they will replace any liberal justice who retires or dies with a conservative.