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Ruth Bader Ginsburg, unshaken by cancer scare, says she looks forward 'to the challenges ahead'

Key Points
  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday she is eager to get back to business, appearing vibrant at a Washington event weeks after completing treatment for cancer.
  • "I can safely predict that the new term will have a fair share of closely watched cases, and I look forward to the challenges ahead," Ginsburg told a crowd of first-year law students at the Georgetown University Law Center.
  • The top court has agreed to review high-profile cases concerning the Second Amendment and LGBT workers' rights in its term beginning in October.
Justice Ruth Ginsburg
Joanne Rathe | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday she is eager to get back to business, appearing vibrant at a Washington event weeks after completing treatment for cancer.

"I can safely predict that the new term will have a fair share of closely watched cases, and I look forward to the challenges ahead," Ginsburg told a crowd of first-year law students at the Georgetown University Law Center.

The top court has agreed to review high-profile cases concerning the Second Amendment and LGBT workers' rights in its term beginning in October. The court will also review the legality of President Donald Trump's decision to wind down the Obama-era immigration program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The 86-year-old justice cracked jokes and critiqued the country's polarized politics during a question-and-answer session with William Treanor, dean of the law school.

"We have seen in recent years a kind of division that is not serving the country well," Ginsburg said. "Some day, we will get back to the way it should be. And I think it will take courageous people who care about the country on both sides of the aisle, who say: Enough of this dysfunction, let's do the job that we were elected to do, govern the United States."

Asked what she would change to the U.S. Constitution if she could make one alteration, Ginsburg pulled out a copy of the document from a binder. Her change, she said, would be to add an Equal Rights Amendment.

Read more: Here's what we know about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's latest cancer scare

"I have three granddaughters. I can point to the First Amendment protecting their freedom of speech. I can't point to anything that says men and women are of equal stature before the law," said Ginsburg, who before joining the top court in 1993 was an influential advocate for women's rights at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ginsburg has maintained an active schedule since completing radiation treatment Aug. 23 for a tumor on her pancreas. She has crisscrossed the country, speaking at events in Chicago, New York, Washington, and Little Rock, Arkansas, and is scheduled to attend events in North Carolina, New York and Massachusetts before the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments next month. Ginsburg missed her first oral arguments in 25 years last term after undergoing surgery for cancerous growths found on her lungs.

At an event at the Library of Congress last month, Ginsburg predicted that she was "on my way to being very well."

VIDEO3:4203:42
Ruth Bader Ginsburg's journey from child of immigrants to the Supreme Court