February 6, 2009

Justice Ginsberg ’54 Treated For Pancreatic Cancer

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg ’54 had surgery yesterday for early-stage pancreatic cancer at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, according to a Supreme Court press release. The 75-year-old Cornell alumna is expected to remain in hospital for approximately seven to 10 days.
Ginsburg, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from Cornell in 1954 with a A.B. degree. She is the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She is also currently the sole woman on the court.
This is not Ginsburg’s first battle with cancer. Although the Justice was treated for colon cancer in 1999, she did not miss a single day on the bench, according to the New York Times.
Ginsburg’s career with the Supreme Court began in 1993, when President Bill Clinton appointed her. As a member of the court’s liberal wing, Ginsburg is known to be a supporter of abortion rights, death penalty restrictions and affirmative action.
Prior to his inauguration, President Barack Obama and his top aids had anticipated possible vacancies in the court, according to The New York Times. Ginsburg is one of the five justices who are over 70 years old.
Although it has been more than half a century since Ginsburg left Cornell, the justice has occasionally appeared at University events. She delivered a 20-minute speech at Cornell when President Jeffrey Lehman was inaugurated in 2003. A year later, she published an article called “Remarks on Women’s Progress at the Bar and on the Bench” in the Cornell Law Review. More recently, she attended a ceremony when Cornell Law School donated 13,000 volumes to France’s highest civil and criminal court.