Justice Ginsburg Completes Radiation Therapy for Malignant Tumor

 

The Supreme Court announced today that Associate Justice Ruth Ginsburg, 86, has completed a three week course of radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a malignant tumor on her pancreas. The tumor was detected during a blood test in early July and confirmed through a biopsy on July 31. In addition to the radiation therapy, Ginsburg also had a bile duct stent installed. According to the Office of Public Information at the Supreme Court, the tumor was “definitively treated” and there is no sign of disease elsewhere in her body.

Ginsburg has had cancer numerous times. Most recently, just last December she had a lobectomy on the left side of her lungs to remove cancerous nodules, also performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering. That procedure caused her to miss oral arguments at the Supreme Court, the first time she’d been absent since joining the court.

Ginsburg has said she wishes to remain on the court as long as she is mentally capable, but the reoccurrence of her cancer, although successfully treated, raises the prospect that she may resign for health reasons, or even pass away, before the 2020 presidential election. In which case, Donald Trump would nominate her replacement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated that he would “absolutely” bring a vote to the floor of the Senate to confirm a Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.

What do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments.

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There are 50 comments.

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  1. Max Ledoux Admin

    I wish her well, health-wise. My preference would of course be that she resign. I think even if she doesn’t pass away before the election, her health will be a huge issue in the election. It’s highly likely that she would pass away during Trump’s second term, so the election is going to be about who’s going to replace her.

    • #1
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    No politics allowed. Ginsburg is a human being who’s fought the C-monster numerous times, so I wish her well and say prayers . . .

    • #2
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:34 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  3. Aaron Miller Member

    I wish her good health as well. But any recurring physical ailments severe enough to prevent a judge from fulfilling one’s duties regularly should be ground for dismissal, not just voluntary resignation. There should be a method in place to deal with such problems. I’m not sure the impeachment process is apt. 

    Practically, it doesn’t really matter. We can’t actually expect tolerance and good judgment from many Democrat legislators. Reasonable methods would not necessarily result in reasonable actions. 

    • #3
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:39 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  4. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Stad (View Comment):

    No politics allowed. Ginsburg is a human being who’s fought the C-monster numerous times, so I wish her well and say prayers . . .

    Having danced with the C-monster twice, I must also wish her all the best.

    • #4
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Seawriter Member

    I wish her the best. Cancer is a horrible way to die.

    Realistically? Given pancreatic cancer and her current age she will need good luck to attend the next State of the Union address. She should not make plans to attend the next Presidential inauguration. I am not trying to be flip. Pancreatic cancer is deadly.

    • #5
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:44 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Stad Thatcher

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    There should be a method in place to deal with such problems. I’m not sure the impeachment process is apt. 

    I know what you mean. Impeachment is typically associated with misbehavior. However, I do suspect Ginsburg’s insistence of staying in place is politically motivated. Hey, someone on our side would do the same, so it’s no big deal.

    I’m starting to think any lifetime appointment is frought with peril, especially an important one. I’m starting to think the 18 year term limit idea for SCOTUS is sound, but with “no younger than” and “no older than” years. I want someone old enough to have life’s experiences, but young enough not to be senile and have faulty mental faculties rendering verdicts which affect 300+ million citizens . . .

    • #6
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:48 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Skyler Coolidge

    This sounds bad.

    I’m not a fan of her policies, but I respect that she writes well and at least tries to present a clear legal opinion, even if I disagree with her ideology. There was a reason Scalia and others have been friends with her. She is honest, if wrong. I can’t say the same of some of her colleagues, such as John Roberts.

    I hope the republicans have the sense to do away with public questioning for the next confirmation.

    • #7
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:50 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. Skyler Coolidge

    I remember when Showa (formerly known as Hirohito) died. They managed to keep his corpse from rotting while insisting he wasn’t dead for months. With thirty years of medical advancements, I can imagine that they can pretend she won’t have died until at least January 2021, if not years longer. Just as long as blood is pumping through by artificial means, they can claim she is still alive. Maybe the Schaivo case will be used to force her death. 

    • #8
    • August 23, 2019, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Miffed White Male Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I remember when Showa (formerly known as Hirohito) died. They managed to keep his corpse from rotting while insisting he wasn’t dead for months.

    Say what?

     

    • #9
    • August 23, 2019, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Django Member

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):

    I wish her well, health-wise. My preference would of course be that she resign. I think even if she doesn’t pass away before the election, her health will be a huge issue in the election. It’s highly likely that she would pass away during Trump’s second term, so the election is going to be about who’s going to replace her.

    If she makes it to Jan. 2, 2020, the Democrats would try to invoke the “Biden Rule” to avoid having Trump nominate a successor before the election. 

    • #10
    • August 23, 2019, at 1:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Pancreatic cancer is deadly. Ever heard of “chemo brain”? I realize she’s having radiation, and I don’t know if it has the same effect, but treatment can be very debilitating. Whenever she resigns, I would like her to go out with grace.

    • #11
    • August 23, 2019, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Stina Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I remember when Showa (formerly known as Hirohito) died. They managed to keep his corpse from rotting while insisting he wasn’t dead for months.

    Say what?

     

    Hirohito died in january of 1989. His son was not inaugurated as emperor until November 1990. I don’t know why it took over a year to inaugurate a clear successor. Wikipedia did not include any scandalous details.

    • #12
    • August 23, 2019, at 1:31 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge

    Stina (View Comment):

    Hirohito died in january of 1989. His son was not inaugurated as emperor until November 1990. I don’t know why it took over a year to inaugurate a clear successor. Wikipedia did not include any scandalous details.

    Um … that’s because there’s nothing scandalous about it.

    The enthronment is a ceremonial event that happens some time after the Emperor actually begins his reign. Indeed, we are in the middle of such an interval right now: Emperor Naruhito began his reign at the beginning of May, immediately upon the abdication of his father. But his enthronement ceremony won’t take place until October.

    • #13
    • August 23, 2019, at 1:41 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Stina Member

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Hirohito died in january of 1989. His son was not inaugurated as emperor until November 1990. I don’t know why it took over a year to inaugurate a clear successor. Wikipedia did not include any scandalous details.

    Um … that’s because there’s nothing scandalous about it.

    The enthronment is a ceremonial event that happens some time after the Emperor actually begins his reign. Indeed, we are in the middle of such an interval right now: Naruhito began his reign at the beginning of May, immediately upon the abdication of his father. But his enthronement ceremony won’t take place until October.

    I didn’t say there was. Skyler thinks there was.

    And notice 6 months is a bit more reasonable than 22 months.

    I just offered the reference to what Skyler was mentioning. If you want to learn about the conspiracies, go for it. I just offered a sign in the right direction.

    • #14
    • August 23, 2019, at 1:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Skyler Coolidge

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Hirohito died in january of 1989. His son was not inaugurated as emperor until November 1990. I don’t know why it took over a year to inaugurate a clear successor. Wikipedia did not include any scandalous details.

    Um … that’s because there’s nothing scandalous about it.

    The enthronment is a ceremonial event that happens some time after the Emperor actually begins his reign. Indeed, we are in the middle of such an interval right now: Emperor Naruhito began his reign at the beginning of May, immediately upon the abdication of his father. But his enthronement ceremony won’t take place until October.

    He was not declared dead until January of 1989, but he was clinically dead several months before. I arrived in Japan in October of 1988 and he was already in a vegetative state, as I recall. (He was neither breathing without a machine, nor was his heart beating without a machine, nor was there any brain activity.) They waited for a propitious date before they were willing to declare him dead. My recollection is that it was on an anniversary of some kind. Regardless, he was dead for all practical purposes for months before they allowed him to be called dead.

    As for the inauguration of the successor, that is of no importance whatsoever. The emperor has no political power, it doesn’t matter who the emperor is. There was no scandal about the date of the inauguration.

    • #15
    • August 23, 2019, at 1:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  16. Skyler Coolidge

    Stina (View Comment):
    I didn’t say there was. Skyler thinks there was.

    I never said there was a scandal. If the Japanese want their emperor to be alive when he’s really dead, that’s their business. I was using him as an example of how people could declare someone still alive when they are in fact dead. Just put them on a machine and keep blood flowing through without all of it leaking onto the floor.

    Ginsberg will not die before January 2021 no matter what. She’ll be pining for the fjords. (I have always thought that sketch is their most profound.) We’ve seen greater lunacy from democrats. It will be nothing for them to insist that she’s not dead.

    • #16
    • August 23, 2019, at 2:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Skyler (View Comment):
    They waited for a propitious date before they were willing to declare him dead.

    Yes. Propitious dates are very important to the Japanese.

    • #17
    • August 23, 2019, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. James Gawron Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Pancreatic cancer is deadly. Ever heard of “chemo brain”? I realize she’s having radiation, and I don’t know if it has the same effect, but treatment can be very debilitating. Whenever she resigns, I would like her to go out with grace.

    Susan,

    Yes, it is deadly and can produce a very rapid decline. I wish her well. She obviously has real integrity and is not just some idealogue. However, I doubt from this report that she will last long. The Art of the Trump Era is to roll with the punches. So that is what we will do.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • August 23, 2019, at 2:13 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Fritz Member

    I am not a doctor, but I had two close family members deal with pancreatic cancer in the past 16 years, so I learned a whole lot more about pancan than I would ever have wanted to know.

    I understand RBG underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer some 10 years ago.

    That surgery (Whipple) as practiced then was extremely arduous, and takes something like 12 hours. Recent advances with laparoscopic methods have simplified it for a few lucky pancan patients. Still, the 5-year survival rate post-surgery is only about 25%.

    A relative of mine underwent that operation, while in her early 70s, and lived to her late 80s with no recurrence of pancan. Pancan that has developed to a point where surgery is not an option is extremely aggressive, and even with massive treatments, is terminal in a matter of months or a couple years, almost without exception.

    If all they gave RBG was radiation, then this tumor may not have been of pancreatic origin at all, but rather had metastasized from some other cancer she has had, such as the lung cancer she was treated for more recently.

    If that is the case, she may be good for a few more years, for good or ill. Whatever, she is certainly one impressively tough lady. 

    • #19
    • August 23, 2019, at 2:48 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Valiuth Member

    I propose a toast. To 10 more years of RGB. The focused intensity with which people of all stripes are in various stages looking forward to her death, makes it imperative that she continues to disappoint everyone in this respect. It all just reeks of morbidity to me. As I said when she had her fall earlier this year. Now she has to out last the next president as well. To holding this conversation again when she’s on her 8th fight with cancer at the age of 100 and still sitting on the court. 

    • #20
    • August 23, 2019, at 3:20 PM PDT
    • Like
  21. E. Kent Golding Member

    RGB is distilled evil. I do not wish her evil, but I will not mourn her.

    • #21
    • August 23, 2019, at 3:33 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Miffed White Male Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I remember when Showa (formerly known as Hirohito) died. They managed to keep his corpse from rotting while insisting he wasn’t dead for months.

    Say what?

     

    Hirohito died in january of 1989. His son was not inaugurated as emperor until November 1990. I don’t know why it took over a year to inaugurate a clear successor. Wikipedia did not include any scandalous details.

    King George VI died in February 1952, the coronation wasn’t until June 1953.

     

    • #22
    • August 23, 2019, at 3:37 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Skyler Coolidge

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    King George VI died in February 1952, the coronation wasn’t until June 1953.

     

    Why is anyone fixating on coronations? The point was the ability to keep people apparently alive who are dead.

    • #23
    • August 23, 2019, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Django Member

    Fritz (View Comment):

    I am not a doctor, but I had two close family members deal with pancreatic cancer in the past 16 years, so I learned a whole lot more about pancan than I would ever have wanted to know.

    I understand RBG underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer some 10 years ago.

    That surgery (Whipple) as practiced then was extremely arduous, and takes something like 12 hours. Recent advances with laparoscopic methods have simplified it for a few lucky pancan patients. Still, the 5-year survival rate post-surgery is only about 25%.

    A relative of mine underwent that operation, while in her early 70s, and lived to her late 80s with no recurrence of pancan. Pancan that has developed to a point where surgery is not an option is extremely aggressive, and even with massive treatments, is terminal in a matter of months or a couple years, almost without exception.

    If all they gave RBG was radiation, then this tumor may not have been of pancreatic origin at all, but rather had metastasized from some other cancer she has had, such as the lung cancer she was treated for more recently.

    If that is the case, she may be good for a few more years, for good or ill. Whatever, she is certainly one impressively tough lady.

    You are right about that. She has more strength and determination in her index finger than the entire GOP has. 

    • #24
    • August 23, 2019, at 5:08 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    They waited for a propitious date before they were willing to declare him dead.

    Yes. Propitious dates are very important to the Japanese.

    But propitious dates are not very important to the dead!

     

    • #25
    • August 23, 2019, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. EJHill Podcaster

    She seems a decent woman despite the politics. Who wouldn’t wish her the best? 

    But, if she hangs on until 2020 we will have an 8-person court for the 2nd consecutive presidential election year. It would be advantageous to the Trump and the Republicans to adhere to the McConnell/Biden rule. Millions transactionally voted for Trump because of SCOTUS and they will again.

    • #26
    • August 23, 2019, at 5:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Skyler Coolidge

    EJHill (View Comment):
    It would be advantageous to the Trump and the Republicans to adhere to the McConnell/Biden rule. Millions transactionally voted for Trump because of SCOTUS and they will again.

    Interesting. That would be like letting the other team have twenty home runs just to make them complacent.

    • #27
    • August 23, 2019, at 5:52 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. danok1 Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    But, if she hangs on until 2020 we will have an 8-person court for the 2nd consecutive presidential election year. It would be advantageous to the Trump and the Republicans to adhere to the McConnell/Biden rule. Millions transactionally voted for Trump because of SCOTUS and they will again.

    Off topic, but I thought the “Biden Rule” applies when there is a SCOTUS vacancy in the President’s last year AND the Senate is held by the opposite party. In which case the “rule” would not apply, since the Presidency and the Senate are both held by the GOP.

    • #28
    • August 23, 2019, at 6:58 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    Merrick Garland. Just sayin…

    • #29
    • August 23, 2019, at 7:54 PM PDT
    • Like
  30. EJHill Podcaster

    danok1: Off topic, but I thought the “Biden Rule” applies when there is a SCOTUS vacancy in the President’s last year AND the Senate is held by the opposite party.

    Not off topic and if you review Biden’s original speech there was no mention of party control, only that the confirmation process and the political season should not overlap.

    • #30
    • August 23, 2019, at 8:29 PM PDT
    • Like
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