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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Watch

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Watch

White House reportedly prepping short list of replacements, as RBG’s health raises speculation.

85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has suffered multiple health setbacks in recent months.

She fell and broke some ribs, and then had cancerous tumors removed from her lungs. Recovery from the lung surgery caused Ginsburg to miss three days of oral arguments this week, the first time she has missed an oral argument since joining the high court:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was absent from the bench for a third day Wednesday as she recovers from cancer surgery, according to a report.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the 85-year-old Ginsburg was unable to be present for arguments but would participate in court decisions via briefs and transcripts of oral arguments, according to The Hill.

Roberts did not say whether she would be back next week.

Ginsburg missed the arguments on Monday for the first time in her 25 years on the bench.

Liberal media is in a panic. CNBC found cancer surgeons (not Ginsburg’s surgeon) to assure everyone that all is well:

Ginsburg’s absence from the bench surprised court watchers, who have seen her quickly bounce back from past ailments, including two previous bouts with cancer.

But it did not surprise cancer surgeons, who say that based on what is known publicly, the 85-year-old’s recovery appears to be proceeding normally.

Top doctors with experience performing pulmonary lobectomies expect Ginsburg to be back on the bench in less than six weeks, with more than enough time to return for the court’s February sitting.

That’s all hopeful, but suggests Ginsburg will function at diminished capacity for a considerable period of time.

Less than full speed is not how she wants to operate, as Alana Goodman reports at The Washington Examiner:

Although Ginsburg said last summer that she hopes to serve until she is 90, she has been consistent about when it will be time for her to hang up the robe: “I said I will do this job as long as I can do it full steam,” she said on Dec. 17 at the New York City premier of “On the Basis of Sex,” a movie based on her early career. Five days later, Ginsburg underwent surgery to remove early-stage cancerous nodules and was hospitalized for several days.

Last February, Ginsburg used the same phrase during an event at the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. “As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here,” she said.

“I will retire when it’s time,” Ginsburg told NPR’s Nina Totenberg in 2016. “And when is it time? When I can’t do the job full steam.” She used the same “full steam” phrase on at least two other occasions.

There are rumors of an imminent retirement or resignation, but those are just rumors as of this writing, and probably more trolling than real news. But Ginsburg’s health problems are real.

The White House is gearing up for the possibility of Ginsburg leaving the bench, Politico reports:

The White House is reaching out to political allies and conservative activist groups to prepare for an ailing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s possible death or departure from the Supreme Court — an event that would trigger the second bitter confirmation battle of President Donald Trump’s tenure….

The White House “is taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates, reaching out to key stakeholders, and just making sure that people are informed on the process,” said a source familiar with those conversations, who spoke on background given the delicate nature of the subject. “They’re doing it very quietly, of course, because the idea is not to be opportunistic, but just to be prepared so we aren’t caught flat-footed.” …

The White House is urging outside allies to be prepared for another bruising confirmation battle should Ginsberg’s health take a sudden turn for the worse, according to four sources with knowledge of the overtures….

Politico points out the likely short list:

The White House counsel’s office and senior aides on the Senate Judiciary Committee, now chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), have begun drafting a shortlist of potential court nominees. It features judges the president has considered for previous vacancies along with some new names. Many of them are women, sources say.

They include Seventh Circuit judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was a leading contender for the last Supreme Court vacancy, created by Justice Anthony Kennedy; Sixth Circuit judges Joan Larsen, Amul Thapar, and Raymond Kethledge; Eleventh Circuit judge Britt Grant; and Third Circuit judge Thomas Hardiman; and Neomi Rao, Trump’s current nominee for Kavanaugh’s old seat on the D.C. Circuit Court.

Now that Republicans have 53 Senators, Collins and Murkowski can’t hold up a nominee. Which gives Trump more leeway.

I’m guessing the replacement for Ginsburg will be Amy Coney Barrett. She was a finalist last time, and Trump signaled her time would come, at least if this WaPo report from last July was accurate:

When Barrett sat down with Trump, she was friendly but reserved and did not particularly connect with the president. Nonetheless, he later told associates he was impressed by her and her large family, including one child with special needs and two adopted from Haiti, and that he hoped to save her as a future pick for the high court once she has more experience on the federal bench.

Regardless of who Trump picks, it’s going to be brutal.

UPDATE 1-11-2019

CBS News reports:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be absent from oral arguments at the high court again next week continue to work from home next week as she recuperates from cancer surgery in December. She missed oral arguments for the first time in more than 25 years last week.

Ginsburg’s recovery is “on track,” according to the Supreme Court. She underwent surgery on Dec. 21 to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung. As was the case last week, she’ll participate in the “consideration and decision of the cases on the basis of the briefs and the transcripts of oral arguments,” Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in an emailed statement. “Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required,” Arberg said.


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It sounds like RBG is dead or very close to it. SCOTUS is turning into the late eighties Soviet politburo.

Humphrey's Executor | January 10, 2019 at 8:46 pm

Get well soon.

DouglasJBender | January 10, 2019 at 8:46 pm

He should nominate a conservative black lesbian. It’d be interesting to see how the Democrats would fight her nomination.

The Packetman | January 10, 2019 at 8:50 pm

I wish RBG all the best off the court …

I hope President Trump is prepared to go scorched earth on any wavering Republicans (I’m looking at you, Willard).

Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear

Trump and his team need to look long and hard. I’m not sure about Kavanaugh. And Roberts is a…is a what?

A fool? Stooge? A go along get along guy?

She was banking on Hillary winning. If it pisses her off that Trump will pick her successor, I feel very little sympathy for her regret as they are not supposed to be political beasts. They are supposed to be guardians of the constitution.

All the same, I wish her the best of health through her Golden years.

“You can have that SC seat when you pry it from my cold, dead backside”

In my estimation of the woman’s spirit she will spitefully retain the seat in all circumstances.

Assume she becomes comatose. What then? Even though she’s unable to make any decisions, even for her own personal care, my guess is that the seat remains hers, that no vacancy can be said to have occurred since there is no statute controlling succession in such circumstances. Unlike the lives of the unborn for whom she had no concern, she will be accorded a right to life until the natural event occurs.

    In the event that a Supreme Court Justice were to become comatose or otherwise clearly unable to function, the proper course of action would be for the House to impeach her, and for the Senate to Convict her on the terms of the impeachment.

    There would be good reason for the House to do this, although getting the few Democrats to act would be a chore. The Republicans would all vote for it, and enough public pressure could probably be brought to bear on the handful of Democrats necessary to get it over the passing line.

    The Senate would then have to act, but I think you would see Democrats probably vote to remove rather than have the image of a medically comatose woman played over and over on Conservative Media attacking those Senators for damaging a co-equal branch of government.

“”When Barrett sat down with Trump, she was friendly but reserved and did not particularly connect with the president””

Nobody cares as long as she’s to the right of Clarence Thomas. But if she’s another Roberts, fugeddaboudit.

Word probably came from RBG, herself, that it might be time. It’s nice to see that the newsies are at least reporting that the White House is trying to be quiet about it, although everything else is leaking like a sieve.

I hope she is comfortable, and surrounded by good company.

“I will retire when it’s time,” Ginsburg told NPR’s Nina Totenberg in 2016. “And when is it time? When I can’t do the job full steam.”

Sounds like somebody has a very flexible notion of the phrase “full steam.” Face it; RGB is a ridiculous person with ridiculous ideas. Another thing to face is that we can’t do a damn thing about it.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the 85-year-old Ginsburg was unable to be present for arguments but would participate in court decisions via briefs and transcripts of oral arguments, according to The Hill.

Translation—It’s not all that important a job anyway, so there’s no point in knocking oneself out to do it well. Any half-assed thing will do.

Roberts is not a high-performance kind of guy. Another ridiculous person, just not quite as ridiculous as RGB. But give him time, he’ll get there eventually.

In any case, the White House should always be prepared. And if the D’rats are going to pull out all the stops to fight any worthwhile nominee, DJT might just as well appoint the most extreme candidate he can find. The price will be the same for a poor choice as for a good one.

But I’m afraid that everything I hear about Amy Barrett sets off alarms. Why anybody thinks she’s a good candidate for anything is a mystery to me.

    Edward in reply to tom_swift. | January 11, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Roberts was just recognizing reality, RBG has missed hearing Oral Arguments for quite a while now. Some days less than others, depends on when she goes to sleep.

    All things considered, Oral Arguments at the Supreme Court are not all that helpful. The parties advocate for an hour, but instead of advocating basically get machine-gunned with questions.

    The written briefs of the parties and any amicus briefs are FAR, FAR more important.

    I mean, come ON. Justice Thomas didn’t as a single question at oral arguments for … 10 YEARS (and during that period, if I recall correctly, he actually only spoke a grand total of FOUR words, which were in 2013, and ended up being a joke at the expense of Yale, where he attended).

Tom Swift, what r u hearing about Barrett? TYIA.

I really expect her to announce her *impending* resignation on Friday, to take place at the end of the year. The Dems/press will promptly jump up to demand Trump appoint somebody blah blah blah blah, list of meaningless checkboxes, string of hyperventilating threats if they are not obeyed, et al.

Then Trump will appoint the judge he wants.

    An announcement effective the end of the year makes sense. The Socialist-Democrats will immediately start screaming that the President can’t make an appointment in an Election Year. IF nothing else they will believe it will serve to energize their base to elect whatever Socialist-Democrat wins the nomination.

Full steam,, that requires air, water, and heat. Since her lung has been partially removed, then she is short on air.. Time to retire..she said so herself.
I wish her some quality time in retirement for whatever she does for fun. I really do.

She’s been dying for 20 years.

Hell at this point she’ll probably outlive Obama.

Her iconic position in the pantheon of feminists dictates leaving the Supreme Court head first. She will “persevere”. What else is there to live for at her age that will bring more fame and glory?

JustShootMeNow | January 10, 2019 at 11:14 pm

“but would participate in court decisions via briefs and transcripts of oral arguments” I’m thinking “Weekend at Bernie’s”

I d not care for RGB.
But, I wish her peace.
It is awful when the body fails the mind.

I do not care for RGB.
But, I wish her peace.
It is awful when the body fails the mind.

When I read the article explaining that there is nothing unusual going on, Ginsburg is “tough as nails” and everything is fine, I remembered that they said more or less the same thing before suddenly taking out part of her lung.

IOW, I smell disinformation. I doubt she’s going to last the month at this rate.

let’s look at the facts:

she’s 85, frail, suffers from osteoporosis, with a history of non-malignant cancers.

recent clinical history: trip/fall with cracked ribs. Dx/Tx reveals two malignant tumors in left lower lung.

note: the “malignant” state is different from her previous cancers and not a good sign for her. something has changed, and they still have no idea where the source is for the carcinomas that have popped up here & there over the years.

surgery to remove tumors.

she lives & works in Washington DC, and it’s winter there, and a cold one.

between the injured ribs, which will be slow healing, given the osteoporosis, & the lung surgery, her ability to fill and empty her lungs is compromised, leaving her a prime candidate for pneumonia, the old person’s friend.

they are, at the very least keeping her home to avoid exposure to cold, temp changes, and other people, who would be a potential source of infection.

she’s frail, fragile, and right on the edge of, if not starting, to “circle the drain”, as we so sensitively put it in healthcare.

if i were part of a Dead Pool, she’d be a prime candidate.

    zennyfan in reply to redc1c4. | January 11, 2019 at 10:25 am

    What, exactly, is a “non-malignant cancer”? Malignant means that cancer cells are present. I know that some cancers are less deadly or aggressive than other types (e.g., some skin cancers), but colon and pancreatic cancers (which Ginsberg had had) most definitely are malignant.

      Milhouse in reply to zennyfan. | January 11, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      Yes, all cancers are malignant by definition. Tumors are not necessarily malignant; a benign tumor means one that is not cancerous.

      redc1c4 in reply to zennyfan. | January 11, 2019 at 6:35 pm

      i was using the terminology used in the news reports, which was likely a mistake.

      there are malignant and non-malignant tumors. what the “reporter” likely meant was metastasizing versus non-metastasizing, but that’s just a guess because i have no idea where they got the info, and we obviously don’t have access to here health records.

      if they were metastasizing tumors, she’s in a world of hurt.

I do like most of the people on the “short list” for prospective justices, but I personally would have folks looking into others. By this time everyone on that short list has been investigated, and every potential detail in their past has been folded, spindled, and mutilated into a possible attack, just at we have seen in the Kavanaugh hearings.

Pick someone that has a good record, but has not made it to national scrutiny as of yet, and appoint them. The left will be scrambling in real-time to find attack vectors, and will fail miserably.

    mailman in reply to Wrathchilde. | January 11, 2019 at 7:56 am

    It quite literally doesnt matter who Trump nominates. They are going to get the Kavanaugh treatment regardless.

    Unfortunately with no track record such an appointment could also result in the time honored Republican problem of appointing an expected Conservative and finding a flaming (OK, a bit of hyperbole) Lefty lurking beneath the skin.

Not attending Oral Arguments is no problem for RBG, she rarely hears much of the arguments before she goes to sleep.

I wish her good health and an early retirement to make the most of the time God allows her. I have no doubt she has already issued her decision on that to God.

Watching my Mom die this past Thanksgiving – Christmas season from metastatic Pancreatic and Liver Cancer, I have compassion for Justice Ginsburg. It’s a tough death accompanied by pain increasing to a point where the patient has to be medicated with IV Morphine in order to withstand it. The time from her diagnosis to death was just under 4 weeks. That’s not much time to say good-bye, nor does it give the patient much time to reconcile and come to grips that their life is over. The Morphine leaves the patient incapacitated as far as communication is concerned: But they can hear and respond to touch and speech. I wouldn’t want to see an enemy (whether physical or political) die this way. Because of this alone, I have empathy for her. I wish her peace as she passes from this life.

Justice Ginsburg DOES NOT represent my convictions in her legal decisions. While I have hope that her successor will be better aligned to the Constitution’s constructionist view point when deciding whether our laws are conform to the Constitution.

Any Trump nomination to replace her will be an “excrement show,” with the Democrat Media complex trying EVERY maneuver possible to get someone that favors the way they desire to govern the American people.

It’s a good time to have Trump as POTUS…. For the providence of his election, I am truly thankful.

    Edward in reply to Jakespeed. | January 11, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Consolation for your loss, you put that very well. Cancer is a thief, stealing the lives of many. Early detection, as happened to RBG (though accidentally), is the greatest aid to survival and unfortunately your mother did not have that. Yes, we are lucky to have the President we have, the alternative was simply unimaginable.

RBG should not buy any green bananas.

I don’t see what the big deal is about missing oral arguments in a few cases. It’s not like she was listening before. For that matter, it’s not like she knows anything about the Constitution.

Here is a thought experiment: if RBG never set foot in the Supreme Court again, and instead of writing her legal opinions on the cases before the Court she sent in articles from the Associated Press or some other left-wing hate group, would anyone notice the difference?

The next time around the dems won’t even bother attacking the nominee but attack the repub male senators as perrves who are unfit to vote on any scores nominee.

We believe that her staff is writing her opinions. She is usually asleep during oral arguments.

It has been my belief for a long time that we give too much credit to these so-called intellectuals on the SCOTUS. They are all very ‘learned’. The fact is that, especially in the case of the libs, when it comes down to actually rendering a decision they vote their political philosophy every time. Had they gone no further than a high school education they would be voting exactly the same way.

They may try to stretch her out till Jan 2020 then pull the Merrick Garland scenario , the media , Pantifa and the collective morons will then try to shame the Senate from ratifying.

    They can’t. The President has a Senate controlled by the SAME party. Garland only did not get a vote because the Senate was controlled by the OPPOSITION party.

    There’s nothing the Leftists can do to derail a Supreme Court nominee of the President. The only thing President Trump has to worry of is the wishy-washy Republicans (I’m looking squarely at you, Murkowski and Romney.