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. robert gottlieb

    Enough already of politicians hiding behind the tired response of "if I offended.....I am so sorry." Forget Justice Ginsberg, you offended me and the notion that there is civility left in the halls of Congress. We didn't need your expertise to inform us of the health dangers associated with cancer. Your comments were made only to serve your narrow political interests of trying to stack the Court with conservative judges. Thankfully, your day in the sun is now over. Now, please leave.

    February 23, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Florida Dude

    The comment where he supports a Conservative judge was totally ignored. Good thing Obama was elected and not McCain. Another Conservative judge on the Supreme Court will just about do us in.

    The real power behind a President and what cements his legacy is not just the bills he signs into law but what judges he appoints to review further laws.

    February 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Bill

    The "conservative" Republicans are generally a nasty bunch.

    February 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Jean

    I find this comment repulsive. OH SORRY this is the CHRISTIAN RIGHT. AGAIN REPULSIVE.
    Let me guess Kevin you go to your grandparents and ask for what you want every week because you KNOW they are going to die.
    Make sure to include everyone you know because they will die also.
    Let me guess what you will get:)

    February 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Rhonda

    Bubba, nowhere did he say he wanted her to die. You have to be in total denial to not realize that unfortunately Justice Ginsburg is in the final stage of her life. We are all going to die someday, I cannot fathom why so many people get upset when someone states the obvious.

    February 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. marlene

    Sen. Bunning was not only insensitive, but just plain mean. However, look at the media and the way they have continued to report on the dire condition of Sen. Kennedy! These types of comments are to frequent. Marlene

    February 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Laverne

    @ Kevin in Ohio: Even if the facts about pancreatic cancer is correct, you don't say something as insensitive as that. She does have family and besides we don't give life and do not know when someone's life will end. Learn some respect!

    February 23, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. Franky

    Yeah cancer is bad...but Liberalism?? I don't know, that's up to you...

    February 23, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Cynthia in Michigan

    She may have pancreatic cancer, but her BRAIN is still working. Thank you, Justice Ginsberg, for all you have contributed to our nation.

    February 23, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Lou from CT

    While Sen. Bunning was quick to apologize for his coarse remarks, the damage to his reputation, in my opinion, is done and irreversible.

    Next time, think before you speak.

    February 23, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. California Gold

    Kevin in Ohio, you don't think it's offensive to go public with a statement that someone who is very much alive is probably gonna be dead when the medical facts say otherwise? You must have been raised by freakin' vultures.

    February 23, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Maggie from Virginia

    Are congressional republicans so desperate for power, they are looking forward to the death of an old sickly lady? We are learning so much about the GOP.

    February 23, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. Mike/Chicago

    I'm amazed at the stupid people in this country who will defend statements like this, no matter how repugnant. Thank God the last election gave us proof there are fewer of these people around. And soon, Bunning will be joining them under the rocks in which they live.

    February 23, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    No doubt the GOP is drooling over the potential that there will be an opportunity to turn an Obama appointment of a Sup. Ct. justice into a poltical circus. Heartless, as ever.

    February 23, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Joman

    Given the Republicans' intensive effort to stack a conservative court for the forseeable future – one would think he would want Justice Ginsberg to survive so that President Obama won't have the opportunity to appoint a non-conservative to the court.

    Repulsive public display no matter how you look at it.

    Best wishes to you Justice Ginsberg.

    February 23, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. RUSH

    The media pointed out very well that she was not qualified to be vice president .

    February 23, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Rick

    Not to worry...I'm sure Obama has one of his Marxist friends cued up to take her place.

    February 23, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. rebekah

    Unbelievable!!! when did it become alright to discuss the possibility at a dinner that someone could be dead soon, so keep in mind a conservative judge? Did I miss the memo? How tacky, just because it can be said, where is the responsibility to not say it!

    February 23, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. Damien

    So much for compassionate conservatism.........again...........

    February 23, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. njborne

    TWP: You are sitting watching TV or reading the newspaper. All of a certain, a prominent person says to the world that your mother or someone you loves, and who has an ailment, is likely to pass away within six months. How would you feel? Whether he is right or wrong, Bunning has no good reason to open mouth, insert foot, and unprofessionally describe someone's demise. What if he says something that itimately address someone you love's sickness?

    February 23, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. Al

    Kevin, it might be "the truth" but the context it was brought up in was pretty sick. "Hey how about that supreme court? Anyone dying anytime soon?".

    He didn't mention Patrick Swayze – but that's probably because he had nothing to gain by that person dying.

    his 'prayers' for her well being after the fact are worth as much as his obvious political prayers for her death – which is to say, nothing.

    So much for morals when you're praying for an old woman to die just to further your agenda.

    February 23, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. Cleaning up after W

    @Kevin in Ohio: "Since when is speaking the truth a problem that requires an apology."

    Umm, since it involves the loss of a human life. You know, that thing that Republicans claim to care so much about. If you don't understand that, you have no soul.

    February 23, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Wolf-Woman Palin Charlotte, NC

    CNN: "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."

    If this is an example of the RELIGIOUS right, than I want no part of them... Where is the prayer and concern for her? My God, instead Bunning sees this as an opportunity for political gain!!!!!!!!!

    There is no excuse for this kind of heartless behavior on the part of anyone, let alone, a U.S. senator. The man has proven he has lost feelings for people in lieu of desperate politics... He is a complete idiot and needs to resign. There is no room in Congress for this type of species.

    February 23, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Sharon Kitchen

    Yet another callus remark........he must have had another thought behind that one.He should have kept it to himself.

    February 23, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. the idiot

    Jean@did you find it as repulsive as the 552 negative comments CNN got when it ran a story about Sarah Palin's grandsons name. Now that was repulsive and I think show the liberal left for what it really is.

    February 23, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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