'I Am Alive': Justice Ginsburg Fires Back at Sen. Bunning's Death Prediction

Ginsburg Says She's in 'Good Health,' Despite Bunning's 'Bad Cancer' Comment

ByABC News
March 24, 2010, 8:43 AM

March 24, 2010— -- A year after surgery for pancreatic cancer, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience last week that she is feeling well -- and then took a dig at the senator who had claimed after her surgery that she would only have nine months to live.

"I am pleased to report that, contrary to Sen. Bunning's prediction, I am alive and in good health," she said.

Jim Bunning, R-Ky., made the comments during a private fundraiser on Feb. 21, 2009, when he described Ginsburg's cancer as "bad cancer -- the kind that you don't get better from."

He later apologized in a statement in which he misspelled the Justice's name. "I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg," Bunning then said.

Three days later and just 11 days after her surgery, Ginsburg, 77, attended President Obama's first speech to Congress. She said later that she attended the speech in part to show the country that she was alive and well, contrary to the senator's dire prediction.

Ginsburg hasn't missed a day of arguments since her diagnosis and has appeared as sharp as ever during oral arguments, sometimes dominating the questioning.

In her comments, made to the Pro Bono Institute on March 19 but only recently posted on the Supreme Court's website, Ginsburg also weighed in on the recent controversy, fueled by Liz Cheney, questioning the loyalty of U.S. lawyers representing accused terrorists.

Cheney, heading the group Keep America Safe, has criticized President Obama for naming nine lawyers to posts at the Department of Justice after the lawyers had provided legal assistance prior to their government service to Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Ginsburg said she was "unsettled, indeed alarmed" by such criticism. "One of the nine was a former law clerk of mine, a young man of great intelligence, integrity and devotion to the ideals that make the U.S.A. a great nation," she said.

Ginsburg went on to praise lawyers who serve on a pro bono basis even for clients who might be unpopular.

"To that expression of the true America Way, one can only say Amen," she said.