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

Bunning apologizes for Ginsburg comments

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/02/23/ginsburg.scotus/art.ginsberg.gi.jpg caption=" 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. mike

    Sad, Humanitarian concerns and Republican in the same sentence?
    where do you live my friend, planet mars?

    February 23, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Mad Mike

    Right, Kevin. Everyone's too sensitive. And every person with any form of cancer runs the risk of developing a greater spread of the disease that doesn't match the "average" expected lifespan. But they still like to hope and although it's rare with pancreatic cancer, there's still a small percentage of about 5% who live beyond 3-5 years. It's the other 95% that are looking at anywhere from 6-18 months. But with any cancer, each individual's outcome is different depending on their general health, how early the cancer was caught, types of treatment, etc. The last thing a cancer patient, or cancer survivor for that matter, needs in the room is you and Senator Bunning quoting statistics instead of offering hope and prayers.

    February 23, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. C

    What a heartless idiot. He could be dead within the year, too. No one has any guarantee. What a moron.

    February 23, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    No one disputes her dedication, but one has to question if this kind of dedication is to be pursued unto her death bed. The court is not some charitable organization. But it is a trait that sticks out like a sore thumb in liberals. Don't know when to say enough for their intellect is wired to run out just about everything they set their mind on until it wears out. Judges are human too and make judicial errors.

    February 23, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. jj

    That moron had too many greenies in the 60s

    February 23, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Lance Coardill

    Generally speaking, Bunning is right. However, my brother is a general surgeon and has performed over 200 Whipple procedures in his career. If the tumor is confined to the pancreas, without metastes, and caught early, as was apparently the case with Justice Ginsberg, the prognosis is better. Five year survival rates are still rather abysmal (below 13%).

    Bunning's slider got him to Congress. Unfortunately, he's not proven himself a scholar off the baseball diamond.

    February 23, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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