Image: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Elise Amendola  /  AP
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks to students at New England Law School in Boston Friday, saying advice and camaraderie from her fellow justices have helped her in her fight against pancreatic cancer.
updated 3/13/2009 2:44:17 PM ET 2009-03-13T18:44:17

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told law students there could be an opening on the Supreme Court soon but didn't hint at who might be leaving.

Ginsburg spoke Friday at New England Law's annual "Law Day."

In a question-and-answer session, she said the nine justices only take pictures together when a new member is added. She said: "We haven't had any of those for some time, but surely we will soon."

She declined to take questions from reporters at the event.

The 75-year-old justice had surgery last month for pancreatic cancer but returned to the bench without missing a day of work. She said advice from fellow cancer survivor Sandra Day O'Connor on when to schedule chemotherapy has helped her to keep up with the court's pace.

Ginsburg's cancer was apparently in the early stages, according to the court announcement.

She had the surgery at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York Feb. 5 and returned to work at the court 18 days later.

The pancreatic cancer was discovered during a routine, annual exam late last month at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

In 1999, Ginsburg had surgery for colon cancer and had chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The only woman on the court, she has been a justice since 1993.

Ginsburg has recently told her former law clerks and others that she envisioned serving on the court into her 80s, although those comments were made before the latest diagnosis.

Ginsburg is one of only two female justices ever. The other is Sandra Day O'Connor, who retired in 2006.

In her previous bout with cancer, Ginsburg received treatment throughout the court's term and never missed a day on the bench.

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Video: Ginsburg back on the bench


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