Ruth Bader Ginsburg explains post-cancer extended speaking tour

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explained Wednesday night why she has agreed to an extended multi-state speaking tour in the weeks following the announcement that she had been treated for her fourth bout of cancer.

“This latest has been my fourth cancer battle and I found each time that when I’m active I’m much better than if I’m just lying about and feeling sorry for myself,” the 86-year-old justice said in New York at the Yale Club in an event hosted by Moment Magazine.

“It’s a necessity to get up and go, it’s stimulating, and somehow all these appearances that I’ve had since the end of August whatever my temporary disability is, it stops and I’m OK for the time of the event,” she added.

On Aug. 23, the Supreme Court announced Ginsburg she had undergone treatment for pancreatic cancer. In a release, the court’s public information officer said the tumor had been treated definitively and “there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body.”

After the announcement, Ginsburg canceled her annual vacation but has kept up a full round of appearances in the weeks before the start of a blockbuster term that will feature cases on the Second Amendment, immigration, LGBT rights and possibly abortion and health care. The term is set to begin the first week of October.

On Sept. 3, she traveled to Arkansas for an event with President Bill Clinton, and a week later appeared in Chicago. Friday night she has another event in New York City and then she will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, on Sept. 23. Two days later she will be back in Washington to appear at the Library of Congress to celebrate the judicial legacy of former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. On Oct. 1 she will meet with her colleagues behind closed doors to consider the hundreds of cases that have piled up over the summer. The first day of oral arguments is Oct. 7.

On Wednesday, asked by the event’s moderator, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, whether she regretted that she hadn’t stepped down during the Obama administration, Ginsburg repeated a sentiment she has expressed before.

“It has been suggested by more than one commentator including some law professors that I should have stepped down during President Obama’s second term,” Ginsburg said. “When that suggestion is made I ask the question who do you think that the President could nominate that could get through the Republican Senate that you would prefer to have on the board?”

Ginsburg was confirmed to the court in August 1993. She was the second woman ever appointed to America’s highest court, after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who served from 1981 to 2006.