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. Alfred E Neumann

    This says more about the state of Kentucky than Jim Bunning.

    Crude, insensitive and thoughtless.

    No doubt he will be re-relected.

    The Republican need only to look to Bunning in answer as to why its numbers in the House and Senate are shrinking.

    February 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. light

    hopefully god strikes this guy with lighting. what a scumbag.

    February 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Matthew, Detroit


    I hope she has a full recovery and than retires in May of 2012 so
    we can replace her with someone more conservative.

    February 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. G.O.P.: When you got nothing, You got nothing to lose

    The moron couldn't even spell her name correctly.

    February 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Ya_Ya

    I hope Kentucky is paying attention. Surely, this is not the best they have to offer the Senate.

    February 23, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Joe

    What a low-life

    February 23, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. David in KC

    A testament to the 'family values' of the Right.

    February 23, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Michael in Little Rock

    Odious right-wing "Christian" extremist says something ugly and mean-spirited; no one is surprised. Film at 11.

    February 23, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. disgusting elephants

    Pretty typical. The republicans start slobbering at the mouth when there's another potential supreme court vacancy to fill. Also true to form, they're so devoid of brain function they forget that a democrat is the one to appoint the next justice.

    If anything they'd hope there were no deaths or retirements from the court after another four years when President Palin takes over. Yikes!

    Nice diagnosis, Dr. Bunning!

    February 23, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. denverdem

    Bunning is like school in the summer... NO CLASS!

    February 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    GOD is a republican. And he is my friend. What is to you?

    February 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. frank thomas

    the supremes are dominated by conservatives, hopefully Obama will be able to appoint liberal judges before his 8 years are up,If the judges die in office or resign to make way for younger judges, makes no difference, it will happen'

    February 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. kay

    My best wishes to Justice Ginsberg. His comments are inexcusable.

    February 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Senator Bunning's comment was in extremely poor taste and his apology was a non-apology. For the right wing bloggers here trying to deflect his inane comments, I'm curious how you would react if the ailing Justice was Antonin Scalia and the Senator making the comment was John Kerry. Guessing it would be 2 news cycles worth of vitriol from Rush/Sean/et al.

    February 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Jim

    I can only assume this person thought about what he would say in front this group and somehow thought it was okay to say them, that it was acceptable based on his audience. Interesting to see how someone in public office can say that about a fellow human being who has served our country on the supreme court protecting all of our rights, that he thinks so little of her other than as means to perpetuate the same failed agenda that got this country in the jam it is in. Guess he is not part of the "compasionate conservatives" we've been told exist. It is not up other parties to call him out is up to his own. We are all watching and waiting.

    February 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. AlRam

    Hey Jim Bunning (you re not worthy to be called senator) who do you think you are God. Maybe you are God because you can predict the death of a person. You are disgusting. What kind of person are you. ENOUGH!!!

    February 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Normal Guy

    Shame, shame on you dis-honarable Sentor Bunning.

    February 23, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Matt

    End Republican/Conservative Rule. Their party is more facist than Republican nowadays. If they come back off that ledge and stop accusing Democrats of those things they are actually culpable for and start actually living by and acting like that part of the Republican Party that the majority endorse, FISCAL CONSERVATISM, then they can expect to get back in the moajority and get into the presidency. At this point they are the party of broken and failed ideas and are only in place as a foil to the new ideas of Democrats. Remember, this spending all began under Republican's messiah, George Bush, so I don't want to hear about Democrat's tax and spending. SOCIAL LIBERALISM/ECONOMIC CONSERVATISM – It's what we need AND how to win.

    February 23, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Accountability

    True nature of Republicans.....Vultures....

    February 23, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Sad

    We need Hon. Justice Ginsburg on the bench for a long time. Conservative vultures will stop at nothing.

    Elected officials are held to a higher standard than others. Have some common decency and humanitarian concerns Senator.

    February 23, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Ken

    The problem with the wingtards is that they've been in an echo chamber since 1994. They have a take no prisoners attitude in politics. Compromise for them is just another weakness.

    Now that America has awaken to the nastiness of GOP politics, they are pushing back and rejecting the GOP in large numbers as evinced by the 2006 and 2008 elections.

    The GOP continues on a downward spiral towards political oblivion.

    It's too bad, because conservatism in of itself is not bad, it's just that those who claim the mantle are.

    If you don't believe me, read the inane comments by the right wingers here.

    February 23, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. AlRam

    People of Kentucky next eleciton please prove the world that you will not tolerate Jim Bunning. Poeple pf Kentucy you are much better than this Jim Bunning. DISGUSTING!!!

    February 23, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Bill

    I think some of the older justices who are suffering from diseases, especially those that effect decision making functions should be forced to step down. It is not a republican or democratic thing, it is what is best for the country and the American people.

    I'm a democrat and said the above without making it personal. Why can't politicians do the same. If a doctor finds me unfit to drive, I would lose my driving priviledges, what makes politicians any different then other people.

    February 23, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. Blatherskite

    Both sides, lighten up. According to the quote supplied, the guy did not wish for or call for her death as some posters here have implied. He just (correctly) stated that pancreatic cancer (which took my own father) is highly and quickly fatal.

    Now, was that a polite, genteel topic to broach in public? Absolutely not! Furthermore, it's political suicide. So the worst you can say is he was insensitive and stupid. Trying to trump it up into some cold-hearted opportunistic republicanism is ridiculous.

    February 23, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Ed Word

    Hey Jim, while you're at it, how long does Rush Limbaugh have?

    He looks like a stuffed sausage casing and weighs 300 pounds.

    Three months? six months? C'mon, you're the doctor here.

    February 23, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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