February 23rd, 2009
04:24 PM ET
13 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. dennisk

    Gee, a Republican being an insensitive jerk? Who would have imagined...

    February 23, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Los

    This is just tactless, like the NY Post cartoon, the Chip Saltsman CD, etc. etc. etc. That's what happens when people live in a bubble, which is what the Republican party has been doing for the last 30 years.

    February 23, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. R in Maine

    Sen Bunning: you are disgusting.

    February 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Cleaning up after W

    Why would this tool even mention Ginsburg's possible demise? Obama is the one who would appoint a replacement anyways.

    February 23, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    Of course that was his intent: he was already throwing dirt on the coffin of a liberal he hates. And then he brings God into, oy vey. But guess what? Omaba is going to appoint a progressive to take her place so the R's won't be able to pack the court with any more Scalias. They'll try filibustering but the Dems should use the same tactics as under the Bush administration and demand, "a straight up and down vote".

    February 23, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Video Guy

    Relax folks I do not think there are any plans to put Bernardine Dohrn on the Supreme Court

    February 23, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. Peter (CA)

    Hey Bunning, it might be YOU who has no more future on the national level in the coming year. Moron. Reminds me of Pat Robertson praying for a death on the Supreme Court a few years back.

    Nice to see the subject brings out the usual right wing brain trust on this blog.

    February 23, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. pj4521

    Bunning is an embarassment even by Kentucky standards. Please Jim, do run for reelection next year, PLEASE!!!

    February 23, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Beverly, NYC

    Another sensitive Republican.

    February 23, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Brian

    "I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg" IS NOT AN APOLOGY. That is a dangerous trend in this country... it's a very snide way of suggesting the hurt feelings were the fault of the offended and not because of the words of the offender.

    When you apologize, you simply say, "I'm sorry for what I did." not, "I'm sorry for how you feel about it."

    Regardless, Bunning is about 52 cards short of a full deck, so I'm not surprised he doesn't know the difference.

    February 23, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Darryl, Vancouver WA

    Typical Republican. Jindal is an IDIOT. The poor, ignorant, lazy GOP is already stumping for 2012. I can't believe that moron Palin actually has the nerve to say the media was biased against her. She opened her mouth and simply removed all doubt that she was ready for the job of VP. Sen. Jim Bunning is indicative of the mental bandwidth of many Republican today. Not very bright. Oh....and how about Micheal Steele?? What a complete jerk "one armed midgets" huh?

    February 23, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Paul

    Republicans are so quick with their Christian values–as long as you look and think exactly like they do.

    February 23, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. orindan

    To Kevin and Typical White Person,

    Delete the name Ginsburg from Bunning's statement, and insert your name, your spouse's name, your child's name or you parent's name, and imagine how offensive this would feel, as well as invasive. The issue of Supreme Court Justice replacement is well understood by most voters. There was no need to add a face to it in such a public way.

    This isn't about politics, it's about respect for a person's dignity and hope. We will move to another level of dialogue in politics not only when we stop criticizing people purely for political purposes, but also when we stop defending them purely for political purposes. Bunning's remarks are indefensible. Bunning should have left the word IF out of his "apology" as well. His comments were offensive, period.

    February 23, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Charles Atlanta

    No surprise.. GOP now are just a bounch of losers. What a loser can do if there is no solution, no plan, no idea to offer? The only thing left is doing personal attack and labeling anybody you don't like..

    February 23, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Tiffy Brown

    i love kimbo he my baby daddy.

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

    Bunning has been brain dead for 20 years.

    February 23, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Tiffy Brown

    when can i get myself right

    February 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Dave

    The man may be insensitive but why should he apologize for saying what her doctors have already probably told her.

    Find the video of Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" or the book by the same name.

    February 23, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. john

    There is no Obama speech suppression, nor marxist friends. These are the delusions of the morally bankrupt right wingnuts. As a society we will always cherish good manners and sensitivities. But why am I wasting my time..., your mother should have taught you these before you went to school.

    February 23, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Pat F

    Bunning's comment is almost as callous as Joe Biden asking a paraplegic to "stand up" was stupid.

    February 23, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Jim Campbell

    I am willing to bet that Justice Ginsburg lasts a lot longer than Sen. Bunning's brain.

    February 23, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. usualone

    I would hope most white males are not like "typical white male" who was cruel and prejudiced as illustrated by his comments. You were born "white" so I guess you are lucky. Hope you are young enough so that the majority of Americans you see are not "typical white male" types in about 20 years from now. Wonder how you will react when you need the other types of Americans.

    February 23, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Bruce

    Kevin in Ohio...you said:

    Since when is speaking the truth a problem that requires an apology.

    Truth is that a person with pancreatic cancer can live well beyond one year depending on what stage the cancer is in. He owes her a sincere apology. Have some compasion!!!

    February 23, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Seattle Sue

    Is Bunning cold hearted or just dumb?

    February 23, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. obamafan

    shame on you, senator bunning. comments like this always reminds me of the movie "the doctor." the story of an insensitive doctor who got cancer himself. it was only then that he realized what a horrible person he had been. i don't wish cancer on anyone, even senator bunning, but i wonder how he'd feel if he were sick and someone had a comment like his for him.
    senator bunning, we're all going to die of something, someday. that includes you. fortunately!

    February 23, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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