Justice Ginsburg Has Cancer Surgery

Our best wishes go to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer today. According to the Supreme Court press release, a small tumor was discovered in the center of Justice Ginsburg's pancreas during a check-up late last month.

Justice Ginsburg, the only woman on the Supreme Court, is 75. While there is reason to hope that she will recover quickly and remain a vital part of the Court, her age and medical condition raise the possibility that President Obama may be nominating a Supreme Court Justice sooner than he expected. Until that bridge needs to be crossed, however, we send our positive thoughts to Justice Ginsburg for a prompt return to the Court she has so honorably served.

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    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:08:03 PM EST
    Best wishes to Justice Ginsburg.

    Best wishes for a speady (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by NJDem on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:09:44 PM EST
    recovery Justice Ginsburg!

    I've always loved this line she used:

    What do you get between a immigrant street peddler and a Supreme Court Justice?

    ...One generation

    [it was on a PBS special about Jews in America]

    Ain't America Great?! (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by BrassTacks on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 08:52:04 PM EST
    My thoughts and prayers are with this great lady and her family.  I have no desire to entertain the politics of her death.    

    I believe he will nominate (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by blogtopus on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:12:29 PM EST
    Someone to cross the divide between Right and Left, but someone who will vote Right, every time. :-(

    Best wishes to Ruth!!

    Obama is vy unlikely (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by brodie on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:19:24 PM EST
    to nominate someone who splits the difference betw R and L -- another Tony Kennedy in effect.

    And if he tries, such as with a certain mushy incrementalist centrist, arguably slightly to the right of Ginsburg, who's been much derided on this board, he will rightly catch plenty of incoming from his liberal base.

    He'll nominate someone with at least a comparable center-left track record as Ginsburg -- and, yes, it will be a woman.


    Yes, it would be a woman. (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:44:59 PM EST
    Say, speaking of Kennedys, isn't there one available?  Ohhhhh noooooo.

    Ginsburg is tough, and the pancreatic cancer was detected early -- but it has an incredibly low survival rate, and she already survived colon cancer.  Let's hope that she conquers it again . . . as let's hope that the first SCOTUS nomination is not until Obama is over this fascination with postpartisanship.

    It is a nonpartisan post, but that's a different thing. :-)


    In addition to well wishes for Justice Ginsburg (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:50:48 PM EST
    pancreatic cancer is a rough illness to go through. I hope her recovery is swift and complete.

    It's a difficult cancer to find since the pancreas is hidden behind the stomach. It doesn't simply show up in a checkup. My mother has been going through them. The tests are done when the symptoms are present.


    That Kennedy (none / 0) (#15)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:24:52 PM EST
    She was in my class in law school.  Caroline would've made a fine U.S. Senator, but I'm sure she'd agree that she's no Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    For her long record of litigating to advance equal rights for women, Ginsburg rivals Thurgood Marshall and Ralph Santiago Abascal as a strategist for long term impact litigation.  Like Marshall, Ginsburg's tenure on the Supreme Court overshadows the fact that she -- like Marshall -- is one of the greatest lawyers social justice that our country ever produced.

    Here's to a speedy recovery for the first woman to be granted tenure by the Columbia Law School.

    That said, in the sad event President Obama has to name a replacement it would be great to see Lani Guinier or Elizabeth Warren appointed.


    Rumored top of the the list (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:33:05 PM EST
    include Jennifer Granholm, governor of Michigan

    Well (none / 0) (#17)
    by kaleidescope on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:45:50 PM EST
    If it's going to be a political appointment I'd rather see it go to Hillary Clinton, though I doubt that Secretary Clinton would accept it.  It would be priceless to sit in the audience the first time Kenneth Starr gets up to argue a case in front of Justice Clinton.

    Except (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:49:22 PM EST
    HRC is not judicial material - she's a policy wonk.

    Heh... (none / 0) (#20)
    by weltec2 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:02:42 PM EST
    If I had to guess, I would imagine BO would tap Cass R. Sunstein. I would however much prefer that Sunstein was replacing Alito or Scalia.

    What "liberal base" of Obama's ? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 06:34:23 PM EST
    Imo, Obama's "liberal base" is in the eye of the beholder.

    Sorry Donald (none / 0) (#28)
    by blogtopus on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:21:21 PM EST
    But I've had my share of Agro-parsing at Shakesville. Ruth it will be, because she is special to me and I don't think she 'deserves' to be held at arms' length at this time.

    Yes she earned her status, but my not listing it here should not be seen as an affront, as some others might opine. She's earned a right to be seen as 'one of us', too. Which she is.

    Gah, I really really hate it when people look for the needle in the haystack just so they can poke you with it.


    She is truly one of this (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by dk on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:57:38 PM EST
    country's greatest citizens, and an incredible role model.

    IMHO, I would find sad irony in the idea of Obama being the one to name her replacement given her lifelong struggle for the equality of the sexes in this country.  I hope she can tough it out.

    Well, I am praying for (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by JThomas on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:05:46 PM EST
    Justice Ginsberg's speedy recovery.

    but I take comfort in President Obama being the one that will nominate her replacement if it comes to that. As the man who was raised by a strong and independent mother and grandmother and partnered with a woman of similar qualities, I am certain the President will make an enlightened choice. His Ledbetter bill signature is already evidence of his strong belief in equality for all.


    It's interesting to see again (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:10:02 PM EST
    as in that post of a few days ago that there are those here who thought it was possible that Obama would not sign the Ledbetter bill.  If you are correct in that concern, it is worrisome.

    Those of us (5.00 / 7) (#13)
    by TChris on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:17:20 PM EST
    who accept as sincere the president's oft-stated belief in gender equality and the need to fight discrimination weren't worried at all.  We see the priority he gave the Ledbetter bill as proof of his commitment to those issues. Nor do we worry that, if it becomes necessary to replace Justice Ginsburg, the president will chose a replacement who does not share that commitment.

    Then why raise in that thread (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 06:55:31 PM EST
    why commenters didn't make more of a to-do about Obama doing exactly as he was expected to do?  A Dem president signing the first bill before him, pushed by Dems and passed by a Dem Congress.  Yet you and others expected applause?  It's what he was sent to Washington to do.

    Maybe it's because it was seen as a gender-issue bill that you expected applause?  Looked at more largely as a labor-rights bill, a human-rights bill, how could anyone expect a Dem president to do otherwise. . . .


    I expect (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by TChris on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 09:00:55 PM EST
    fair minded people to praise Obama when he does the right thing, not simply to criticize Obama when he's perceived as doing the wrong thing.  Of course, fair-mindedness when it comes to Obama has been lacking in the comments, which was my point.

    Then you are not reading (none / 0) (#37)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:23:52 PM EST
    all the comments. Including mine.

    Pick your fights, and pick them wisely.


    I'm not fighting. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by TChris on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:35:42 PM EST
    Well CC, how could Obama not sign the (none / 0) (#23)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 06:27:36 PM EST
    Ledbetter bill; seeing how it has become so emblematic, and prophetic, of his total unrelenting dedication to every aspect of women's rights. That's a lot of bang for the buck, no?

    My reference was to the odd thread (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 06:56:45 PM EST
    wondering why didn't rise up and sing hosannas to a Dem president signing a Dem bill -- no matter the issue.  Would we be called upon to applaud Obama signing a Dem bill for others' rights, say African Americans?

    I certainly would. (5.00 / 5) (#34)
    by TChris on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 09:04:24 PM EST
    I'll praise him whenever he strengthens any civil rights law. It is odd to me that after 8 years of Bush, Democrats would signal indifference by silence whenever Obama takes action to correct the nation's course.

    TChris, let's all hope this isn't the (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:48:29 PM EST
    the only instance when Obama "strengthens any civil rights law".

    In the meantime, please, let's not shoot our whole wad of "praise" this early in the game. Obama hasn't passed the Equal Rights Amendment here. He's simply chosen to sign off on the Ledbetter bill - which he prominently touted back on the campaign trail.

    Granted, we've suffered 8 years of criminal GOP governance, but that's not a winning argument for setting the bar this low for the new President.

    Having been fooled and fooled again, shouldn't we be setting the bar somewhat higher than it's ever been? At least until we regain some perspective on what normalcy and common decency look like?


    It's not an either/or choice (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by jar137 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 11:59:50 PM EST
    I think Obama deserves praise when he does the right thing.  That doesn't mean he shouldn't be pressured to raise that bar as well.  What's the harm is saying, well done?  Positive reinforcement is a good thing.  Don't you tell people you work with the same when they do a good job?  Sure, you can argue, it's their job, they shouldn't be praised for it.  But I find that a bit miserly of spirit.

    My wad is intact. (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by TChris on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:16:24 AM EST
    I praise Obama for making Ledbetter a prominent issue in his campaign, for making it a priority in his administration, and for making it the first bill he signed.  His future actions or inactions in the civil rights arena will be judged on their own merit.  I don't have a finite supply of praise or criticism, so don't worry that I'll use up all the praise by saying something nice about the president.

    Yes (none / 0) (#36)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:21:13 PM EST
    Its a no brainer. Unless he is your enemy.

    A no-brainer is up your alley (3.50 / 2) (#38)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:24:43 PM EST
    and Obama is my president.  

    You, you're just a waste of my time.


    Yes (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:27:23 PM EST
    A no-brainer is up your alley

    And it is you are the one up at the end of the alley.


    In Ginsberg's (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by eric on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:58:27 PM EST
    dissent in Bush v. Gore, she dropped the "respectfully" in "I respectfully dissent".  Good stuff.


    I hope for the best for Justice Ginsburg and (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by tigercourse on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 05:51:31 PM EST
    her family.

    SCOTUS Blog: "Whoa," Not "Woe" (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Peter G on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:19:49 PM EST
    At SCOTUSBlog, proprietor Tom Goldstein, a Supreme Court expert who has excellent sources, marshals the reasons for optimism, and explains why it's premature to start naming a successor for Justice Ginsburg.  

    Great news, Peter (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by weltec2 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 10:03:11 PM EST
    Thanks for the link.

    Best wishes (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by txpublicdefender on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:43:20 PM EST
    I send all my best wishes to Justice Ginsburg and her family.  As a female lawyer, she is one of my great personal heroes.  I hope she has a speedy recovery and will continue to serve on the Court for many years.

    Comment deleted (none / 0) (#12)
    by TChris on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:12:21 PM EST
    as well the comments responding to that comment.  The topic of this post is Justice Ginsburg, not the president's interest in reducing the need for abortions.

    Prayers For Ginsburg (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:19:24 PM EST
    And I sincerely hope that the surgeon does not inadvertently switch the right and left side of Ginsburg brain.

    I hope she gets through this (none / 0) (#29)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 07:21:35 PM EST
    Is the supreme court deciding cases right now?  If so what happens to her vote?

    The Supreme Court decides (none / 0) (#31)
    by Peter G on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 08:05:35 PM EST
    cases in writing, after studying briefs and hearing in-court oral arguments. So yes, they are "deciding cases" currently, which is an ongoing process.  As for in-court sittings, the Court is between sessions right now, what they call "in recess" -- but really this is an opinion-editing period.  Their next sitting for argument begins on February 23 and lasts two weeks.  If Justice Ginsburg is not able to take the bench by then, she can still participate in decisionmaking, if she wants to, by reading the briefs, joining in the Court's private conferences, and listening to the arguments via recordings.  Or she can sit those cases out.  Generally, with the Court so closely divided on many cases, the Justices don't like to remove themselves if they don't have to, such as for sickness, because of the risk of a 4-4 outcome, which results in a summary affirmance of the lower court decision, and no precedent set.