February 5, 2009

"U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery today for pancreatic cancer."

CNN reports.

38 comments:

Mark O said...

Awful.

Bob said...

My best wishes for her recovery. Can't help wishing that the docs could have caught it earlier, say a year ago...

Anton said...

Best wishes to Justice Ginsburg, and hope for a full recovery.

john said...

She's 75. Did she want to wait this surgery out until after the inauguration?

BTW, what would happen if a SCOTUS judge became incapacitated or died in the final weeks of a presidency? If the lame duck president nominated a replacement and it got stuck in senate committee until after the new president came in, can the new president cancel/fire the nominee? Has this happened?

AJ Lynch said...

That's too bad. I wish everyone would at least enjoy a few years of carefree retirement after they decide to stop wotking.

This diagnosis means Judge Ginsburg probably won't enjoy that.

Marcia said...

"If the lame duck president nominated a replacement and it got stuck in senate committee until after the new president came in, can the new president cancel/fire the nominee? Has this happened?"

John -- It happens all the time with lower court appointments. It is very rare for nominations to survive a new presidency (when there's a switch in party).

dick said...

although I do not agree with her politics, I wish her the best and a speedy and full recovery. She is at least honest about her beliefs.

Jim Hu said...

Bob, is there a reason you think they could have caught it earlier? Both CNN and the NYT are reporting it as early stage, detected in a CT scan that most people don't do routinely. Pancreatic cancer can be very nasty, but the Times writes that this is usually due to late detection, which does not seem to be the case here... I hope.

Best wishes to Justice Ginsburg for a full recovery.

Simon said...

John,
Although we usually think of Senate confirmation as the last step, it isn't: the President formally appoints someone after the Senate has consented to the appointment. He can decline to make that appointment at any time up to the time it is made (although once it's made, it can't be revoked). So the answer is yes, the new President can withdraw the nomination, or could simply decline to appoint the person if the Senate consented to the nomination. I don't know if or when this has happened in practice, though.

JAL said...

Well Justice Ginsburg is at one of the best places. Our thoughts are with her.

My late sister-in-law had inoperable pancreatic cancer. She was a patient at SK and involved in some drug trials there. She made it way past the predicted survival time, and we attribute that in part to the fastastic care -- cinical and personal -- she received there.

Was it Justice Ginsburg who was so bundled up a couple seats to Obama's right at the inauguration? She has looked so frail anyway ... http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=15374&window_height=669&window_width=1417 (zoom in -- amazing)

Bissage said...

I find it a depressing thought that the best proof you’re a success in this world is a thousand people reaching for their phones the second they hear you’re headed for the next.

But that’s my problem.

In the mean time, best wishes to Justice Ginsburg, her family and friends.

TMink said...

Oh goodness, God bless her and her family. I hope she lives along and productive life. In retirement. 8)

Trey

Fake Barack said...

http://fake-barack.blogspot.com/2009/02/justice-ginsberg.html

Triangle Man said...

This was caught as early as possible. Very few people get routine scans, so very few pancreatic tumors are detected this way. The survival statistics for early stage pancreatic cancer are still not good, but because routine scanning is so rare, there is not much data on tumors detected this way.

Triangle Man said...

...now, having said that about the stats, I do hope she beats the odds.

TitusSendsSpecialHugs said...

I just pinched a really greasy loaf.

The stuff flew all over the entire bowl.

The bowl looked like a scene from Helter Skelter.

I can take a picture of it if anyone wants to see it.

JAL said...

Sorry. That should be to President Obama's LEFT in the picture.

(No political statement is being made ;-))

David said...

Scalia is devastated.

Really.

You don't wish this on anyone, but RBG has had a fascinating life. I'm sure she would like a few more years of fascination, though.

As for being deprived or retirement, Jeez, I doubt it. Do you suppose she would rather be taking tours of the Acropolis than sitting on the Supreme Court?

Did she hold the surgery until after the inauguration? Well, she didn't get on the Court by being stupid. (Often wrong, imho, but not stupid.)

AlphaLiberal said...

That's terrible. A very tough disease.

rhhardin said...

It can't be a celebrity thing with Supreme Court justices, so I gather the newsyness of the story is that Obama gets to appoint a Supreme Court justice pretty quick.

traditionalguy said...

Can the Professor continue this Blog while she sits on the Court? If not,then I hope Obama remembers that she is a really a conservative deep down inside her breast.On the otherhand, she could write some classic opinions, citing old movies, Bob Dylan lines, and illustrating them with pictures tken out of the window of her chambers.

Cedarford said...

Lets hope ACLU Ruthie has many good years left.
You should never wish ill on your political enemies.

Enemies of your nation, yes. Bin Laden gets pancreatic cancer? Well, aawwwww, shucks if that ever happened..
The worst sort of criminals? I think "tough luck, but don't expect me to lift a finger to help you" is appropriate. I remember there was some sort of row about a child molester and boy rapist in Georgia looking for a heart transplant and people threatening to drop their organ donation cards if he got one. He died without the transplant, in prison.

TMink said...

David asked: "Do you suppose she would rather be taking tours of the Acropolis than sitting on the Supreme Court?"

I am clueless about her wishes, but I certainly wish her a long and healthy retirement! Starting tomorrow perhaps.

Trey

Simon said...

traditionalguy said...
"[If appointed to the court, Althouse] could write some classic opinions, citing old movies, Bob Dylan lines, and illustrating them with pictures tken out of the window of her chambers."

She wouldn't be the first to include a photograph in a judicial opinion! (Or even the first to quote Dylan in an opinion).

Henry Buck said...

Titus:

Your comment puzzles me.

You say you are a greasy loafer. Let's suppose you are right and somehow sense something about your loaf that is not apparent to others.

Then let me ask you this:

1. It's a well established fact that we don't judge commenters based upon the greasiness of their loaves, so we accept that people who comment probably have had a greasy loaf once in a while.

2. I assume that you (like other greasy loavers I know) feel that your loaves are no more anyone's business than anyone else's loaf, and in fact if a public person has greasy loaves, applaud the fact.

So therefore, why are you implying that it matters that you have a greasy loaf? I personally don't believe it (since all the evidence is otherwise) but if it were, why would you suggest that it should be an issue? If a Supreme Court Justice turned out to once have had a greay loaf in the park, would it be an issue? Of course not. If you're a greasy loafer you should certainly answer that should make no difference (and I'd agree with you about that.)

Cabbage said...

Shamelessly reposted from the volokh thread:

She's tougher than Patrick Swayze, and he seems to have beaten it.

No one puts Bader in a corner!

Beth said...

Did she want to wait this surgery out until after the inauguration?


From what I've seen of pancreatic cancer, and I've known two people diagnosed with it, I can't imagine putting off treatment for political concerns.

I wish her the best.

Palladian said...

Terrible. Hope she pulls through and is around to snooze through oral arguments for years to come.

I've liked her (not her judicial reasoning) ever since I noticed that she has abstract art prints in her chambers, including a Josef Albers above one of the bookcases.

Here's her and Justice Scalia riding on an elephant in India. And here they are as extras in a production of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. What an unlikely pair, Nino and Ruth. He must be devastated.

Palladian said...

Nina Totenberg was speculating about nominees should Ginsburg decide to retire. Apparently it's now the rule that a "woman's seat" on the Supreme Court has to be filled by a woman. Totenberg stated that Obama's list of possible nominees is "exclusively women" and going through her list, said this:

"Sonia Sotomayor who's a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and who also is something of a twofer, she's also... um, Hispanic."

So that's what it's come to. Apparently her two qualifications are that she's a woman and she's "hispanic". Tina seemed like she regretted saying it as she was saying it.

TMink said...

This seat is mine.

I have the empathic credentials.

Trey

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian said..."I've liked her (not her judicial reasoning) ever since I noticed that she has abstract art prints in her chambers, including a Josef Albers above one of the bookcases."

Aw, come on! The placement of the Albers is so disgustingly awful that it can't be taken to represent any significant aesthetic feeling, even assuming Albers is great. I set to one side my irritation with Albers. I would like to smack Albers in the face. What effete bullshit!

"Apparently it's now the rule that a "woman's seat" on the Supreme Court has to be filled by a woman. Totenberg stated that Obama's list of possible nominees is "exclusively women" and going through her list, said this..."

Well, it's not there there's a "woman's seat" (as for many years there was a "Jewish seat") but there must be women on the Court. For so many years there wasn't even one, then there were two, and now, once again, there is only one. To think we could go back to an all-male Court. There should be *several* women, so a "woman's seat" is a ridiculous concept. But a Court with *no* women? Unthinkable! Outrageous! There is a pool of qualified women. Pick one. And then pick another one. I'll be pissed off until there are 3. And I am being moderate. To reflect the population, there should be 5. I am not asking for 5. I am not even asking for 3. But there sure as fuck better be one!

Palladian said...

"Aw, come on! The placement of the Albers is so disgustingly awful that it can't be taken to represent any significant aesthetic feeling, even assuming Albers is great."

Well you seem to think quotas are important regarding women on the Court, so why can't I take the mere presence of an Albers (as well as a couple of other abstractions) to be acceptable acknowledgment of abstraction by a high government official? You want women represented at any cost, I want abstract (or "non-objective") painting represented at any cost. So I'm stuck with an Albers not a Willem De Kooning or an Yves Klein or a Marsden Hartley. Any port in a storm.

"I set to one side my irritation with Albers. I would like to smack Albers in the face. What effete bullshit!"

Effete? I would call Albers (assuming your objection is to the Homage to the Square paintings) overly systematized or didactic or theoretical. But "effete"? Are you calling J. Albers a pussy? Even though I'm not terribly moved by his work as a painter (though they're awfully effective as design elements in 'modern' interiors), I admire Albers as a terrifically influential art educator who cast a long shadow at my alma mater in New Haven, CT. I'm sorry you feel so harshly towards him.

"There should be *several* women, so a "woman's seat" is a ridiculous concept. But a Court with *no* women? Unthinkable! Outrageous! There is a pool of qualified women. Pick one. And then pick another one. I'll be pissed off until there are 3. And I am being moderate. To reflect the population, there should be 5. I am not asking for 5. I am not even asking for 3. But there sure as fuck better be one!"

Why? Do women possess some mystical powers of judicial reasoning that merits special consideration when choosing a qualified nominee for Associate Justice? If so, why stop at women? Why isn't there a hispanic or an asian or a black person on the Court? Who will represent the homosexual population when Souter retires? If these unspoken "rules" are so important to the work of the Court, why don't we make them actual rules? Since there's no real limit (or is there?) on the number of Justices on the Supreme Court, why not expand the number so that every legitimate, significant "minority" group is represented. Hell, Obama could make ALL OF US Supreme Court Justices.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"To reflect the population, there should be 5."

What is the justification for the premise that the court's personnel should "reflect the population"?

Ann Althouse said...

Wait, Palladian.... are you saying Albers is not effete? The fact that you went to Yale... well... no one here (I bet) will accept that as an argument.

Palladian said...

"Wait, Palladian.... are you saying Albers is not effete?"

Yes, that's what I'm saying. Assuming, of course, that you're using one of the standard meanings of the term. I don't find any of his work overrefined or affected or delicate. As I said, I think of it as overly systematized or didactic or theoretical. I'd put Hans Hofmann in the same category, though I generally like his paintings a little better than Albers's paintings. Much of it seems to be art about art making, as if it were produced as a teaching aid. Which is why I think of it as didactic and dry. "Effete" also carries some connotation of femininity, which I absolutely don't see in Albers. Effete to me is Jasper Johns's work after about 1975.

I wouldn't have defended Albers at all had your reaction to him been a little less... vehement. Did you spend weeks being forced to make Josef Albers color studies out of Color Aid paper when you were in art school?

"The fact that you went to Yale... well... no one here (I bet) will accept that as an argument."

It was only a personal augmentation of the argument: "I admire Albers as a terrifically influential art educator", added to allow the reader the latitude to conclude that my lack of ill-will towards Albers may simply be because I was brainwashed by his influence on my professional school.

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian: "Effete? I would call Albers (assuming your objection is to the Homage to the Square paintings) overly systematized or didactic or theoretical. But "effete"? Are you calling J. Albers a pussy? Even though I'm not terribly moved by his work as a painter (though they're awfully effective as design elements in 'modern' interiors), I admire Albers as a terrifically influential art educator who cast a long shadow at my alma mater in New Haven, CT. I'm sorry you feel so harshly towards him."

My harsh feelings began when an art teacher presented some set of Albers teaching materials -- some box of squares -- to us in a design class. I didn't like the idea that these colors were so supremely and subtly coordinated. I mean, that's nice, but it's just not that impressive. It's like an interior decorator with swatches.

I wrote: "Wait, Palladian.... are you saying Albers is not effete? The fact that you went to Yale... well... no one here (I bet) will accept that as an argument."

Wow! I don't remember writing that. I had to click to the profile to make sure it wasn't someone appropriating my name. It doesn't even sound like something I would say. Have I found a way to type in my sleep? Really, I take that comment back.

"Yes, that's what I'm saying. Assuming, of course, that you're using one of the standard meanings of the term. I don't find any of his work overrefined or affected or delicate."

My dictionary says: "Depleted of vitality, force, or effectiveness..." I stand by that.

"As I said, I think of it as overly systematized or didactic or theoretical. I'd put Hans Hofmann in the same category, though I generally like his paintings a little better than Albers's paintings."

Hofmann is more vigorous, but he too was pleased with his theories.

"Much of it seems to be art about art making, as if it were produced as a teaching aid."

As I said, Albers did produce a set of teaching materials that were based on the assumption that his paintings were the ultimate in painting (or that's how I remember it from over 30 years ago).

"Which is why I think of it as didactic and dry. "Effete" also carries some connotation of femininity..."

That's a bit of an insult to women. It's about weakness and lack of vigor.

"I wouldn't have defended Albers at all had your reaction to him been a little less... vehement. Did you spend weeks being forced to make Josef Albers color studies out of Color Aid paper when you were in art school?"

Ha ha. See above. I mainly didn't like to be told what to do, then and ever.

Nichevo said...

Ha ha. See above. I mainly didn't like to be told what to do, then and ever.

It has recently begun to astound me how many people a) assert this sentiment, b) with pride. It's like saying "I don't like broccoli" with a defiant outthrust chest. In fact it may be a character flaw.

If I'm a fire warden, say, and I'm clearing your floor (whether in a drill or a real emergency) and I find you in an office on a conference call, don't be telling me you'll leave in five minutes. You're leaving now. I promise.

I've done it before, to a whole room of people any one of whom could have had my job, and I'll do it again. And while the power trip aspect could be cried up, in fact "you fight like you train," and in fact, Professor, it is my job as fire warden to be the last one off the floor and down the stairs;

and Professor, I will not leave the floor without you. That is my duty; that is my honor.

Conceivably, with a little pretty pretty cajolery on your part, I will finish my sweep and come back for you; but trust me when I say that you ARE leaving. I promise I can carry you.

Nichevo said...

Which doesn't mean you have to like it, I guess; but we must learn to show good grace in these things. Yet graceful or graceless, so it shall be. Selah.

I just think there is no sexier or more attractive attribute in a woman, or probably in anyone, than grace. If I have to be Cary Grant, I hope you're up to the Myrna Loy part.