February 23rd, 2009
04:24 PM ET
5 years ago

Bunning apologizes for Ginsburg comments

 Sen. Jim Bunning issued a statement Monday about his recent comments on Justice Ginsburg's health.
Sen. Jim Bunning issued a statement Monday about his recent comments on Justice Ginsburg's health.

(CNN) – Sen. Jim Bunning apologized Monday for recent comments that suggested Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be dead within a year.

In remarks at a Hardin County Republican Party dinner, the Courier-Journal newspaper reported the Kentucky senator said that pancreatic cancer is "bad cancer. The kind you don't get better from," and that the longest most patients live is nine months after diagnosis, even with surgery.

Bunning - who said he plans to seek re-election next year for a third term - also said he supports conservative judges, and that's going to be an issue very shortly because "Ruth Bader Ginsburg ... has cancer."

“I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg (sic),” Bunning in a short statement released Monday. “That certainly was not my intent. It is great to see her back at the Supreme Court today and I hope she recovers quickly. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.”

The Supreme Court announced earlier this month that Ginsburg, the only woman sitting on the high Court, had undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer. She returned to the Court Monday without fanfare and joined her male colleagues in hearing oral arguments.

The health of some members of the nine-member court has been a political topic in recent years. Ginsburg's recent cancer diagnosis has renewed speculation President Obama might soon have an opportunity to name perhaps several justices.

Update 4:24 p.m.: Neither Ginsburg's chambers nor the court had a reaction to Bunning's apology Monday afternoon.

Related: Ginsburg rejoins Court after surgery

–CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears contributed to this report.


Filed under: Popular Posts • Supreme Court
soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. California Gold

    Bunning bungled badly. Somethings just can't be smoothed over. This is one of them. Bad form Bunning. Bad form.

    February 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. HoneyBee

    This is America, just say what's on your mind and apologize later....it works all the time!

    February 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Crazy Cat Lady

    "I apologize if my comments offended...." If? IF???

    Man up, you jerk, and don't weasel! The word "IF" has no place in a sincere apology.

    Oh, wait.......................

    February 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Bubba

    What a surprise! Bloodthirsty Repugs wishing an old lady would die! How utterly Christian and "family values" can you get?

    February 23, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    Since when is speaking the truth a problem that requires an apology. Look at the statistics. I feel bad for Justice Ginsburg, but, yes, she will likely be gone in a year or sooner. Bunning just spoke the truth as it is with pancreatic cancer.

    February 23, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. proud american

    What a nice non-apology that was probably written by his press secretary.

    Predicting the death of a Supreme Court justice from one Senator...another Senator just said our President "may not have been born in America. I haven't seen a birth certificate"

    So glad to see the GOP is picking themselves up after President Obama walked all over them last year...can't wait for the Sarah Palin/Bobby Brady ticket in 2012!

    February 23, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. obama-mama

    Some folks are just better off keeping their mouth shut. Ginsburg may outlive him.

    February 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Jo

    Why do politicians and others preface their apologies with the words "If I offended". There is no if here Senator. Of course your words offended, insulted, disappointed, and outraged most if not all people. I know that you are chomping at the bit to replace Justice Ginsberg but your remarks were over the line and your apology is weak and insincere. You are a disgrace to your State and to the Senate and If my words offend you, I am not apologizing.

    February 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Mike in Houston

    Right, Kevin. People are way too sensitive.

    February 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. ran

    I hope the people of KY will not reelect this guy. He is what is wrong with the republican party.

    February 23, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. tina

    Another GOP bites the dust due to FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE

    February 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. obama-mama

    @Kevin in Ohio: That is a personal matter. What if you were sick and people were estimate when you would be dead?

    February 23, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Mike in Houston

    Those expressing the most anger at Bunning are the same who called on Cheny to be killed or something bad to happen to Bush.

    The hyprocracy of the left is astounding.

    February 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. geecee

    Not surprising this comes from a Repuglican. They are known for their compassion and sensitivity!!

    February 23, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. christi

    Well, sure Kevin-he spoke the truth. Never mind that it was insensitive and crass and simply bad manners. That is half the problem going on now days in this country. A person can be an idiot and a clod...and not worry about what used to be simple manners and respect.

    February 23, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Peter M. Ranoia

    I am not a doctor nor anyone who projects anything. My prayers are with Supreme Justice Ginsburg and all who sit on the bench, however, the media distorts peoples conversation to get the attention of the readers, including me. Sen. Bunning was not out of line he said what was in his heart and mind. Outlook for anyone with pancreatic cancer is not good. I pray for her and all sick people and for you too Se. Bunning.

    Thank you so much and God Bless.

    Peter M. Ranoia

    February 23, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Jo

    If this is the party of Christians and family values, I want no part of it. I just hope all donothings of the republican party get what they deserve in their next election. Get nothing. You reap what you sow and if you sow hate, disrespect, obstruction so then shall you reap.

    February 23, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. tina

    To Kevin in Ohio,

    Bunning is not GOD and maybe you and him should pick up an etiquette book. and surely you will see what is proper and what is not.............

    February 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. christi

    Well, Kevin perhaps you don't understand. It's not about speaking the truth regarding someone's health. It's simply about decency, manners, and something many are unfamiliar with...respect. Sure, go ahead and say what you want, as long as you say "sorry" it makes everything okay. That is a typical response and part of what's wrong in our country today. It's really simply-good manners don't cost a thing. Guess you wouldn't know about that...

    February 23, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. no corporate politics

    He should take a lesson from Obama: Get your followers and surrogates to spew the hate – then you never have to apologize!

    Like when he had a good laugh about Palin hanging in effegy in California and said nothing. Or the old-folks senile comments about McCain. Obama made the point without the nasty political fallout.

    DNC/RNC nasty politics is alive and well!!!

    Vote 3rd party locally starting now.

    February 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. tim in Ky

    As a citizen of the commonwealth of Kentucky, this is not the first time we've been subject to Bunning putting his foot in his mouth. With all his blunders, I'm surprised he got reelected the previous term. Even in a heavily "red state," I think he has hurt himself too much to get elected to another six years.

    And, by the way, it wasn't that he told the truth, it was that he was referring to a fellow human being's prognosis callously because he was more concerned about firing up constituents on a specific political agenda, i.e. conservative judges.

    February 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. No Hillary = No Obama

    Another moron who serves in congress – the place is just chock-full of jerks.

    February 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Typical White Person

    He never said he wished he would die. All he did was point out that pancreatic cancer is bad and the survival rate is almost non-existent. That was nothing to apologise for.

    Welcome to Obama speech supression on full display.

    February 23, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. yuri

    A few bad apples do make it to the surface. GOP's members may or may not have noticed certain insentivities being distributed among those with itchy mouth. Bunning's blunt and brusque remarks about pancreatic cancer were, quite frankly in our opinion, unsolicited.

    If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say it. Nobody is asking for a layman's contributions in medical matters of malignancy. Thans in advance.

    February 23, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. John

    Real classy, Senator Bunning.

    He's only "apologizing" because he got caught.

    So let the backpeddling begin.

    February 23, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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