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. Carl Justus

    This is a compassonate republican doing the talking. That is just what this country does not need a another republican that has his tongue going and his brain is still in reverse.
    We can be sure if there is anyway to divide this country and speak bad about some one they do not like, the republicans will find a way and the words to spread them abroad.
    If that was a democrat saying the same thing about Scalia, you would here the biggest uproar in the country and not just from one republcan it would be the entire republican party.
    What bunch of idiots and they wonder why they lost the election by more than twice the of votes in the electorial college.

    February 23, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. DeeBee

    At least he only "predicted" her death. A few years ago, Pat Robertson prayed for it.

    February 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What an idiot speaking about Ginsburg like he's God. Just another example of how power and ignorance just to work together.

    February 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Change is coming!

    wow what a terrible thing to say.

    February 23, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Linda K.

    Bunning is up for re-election soon. Our lieutenant governor, a Democrat, has already expressed interest. We replaced the Republicans in the governor's mansion. Now it's time to clean out the Senate.

    We nearly succeeded in ditching Mitch last November. Next time.

    February 23, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Tariq

    Bunning was out of line.....

    but to all Supreme Court Justices...to current Pope and all future Popes: just because you have been appointed to a job for life, does not mean you have to keep working for life

    February 23, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. MICK in MESA

    I agree with "alvino" & "Joe"...
    I can't get over those southern repugs slime balls!
    And to think people actually voted them into office!
    LOOK OUT AMERICA – The inmates are trying to run the asylum!

    February 23, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Humble American

    As the spouse of a Stage Four Cancer Patient, and as Volunteer Fundraising Chair for the American Cancer Society/Cancer Action Network in South Central PA, I can surely exclaim that Bunning's apology is NOT enough.
    Perhaps a nice $10,000 donation to the National Cancer Institute and a visit to a local Chomotherapy/Radiation Center where he apologizes to cancer patients in person would do better.

    February 23, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Adam in KY

    If Bunning wasn't up for re-election, this would not be a story.

    Surely by now, the people of KY have realized that Bunning is a disappointing waste of a Senate Seat.

    If you think what he said about Justice Ginsburg was awful, look up some of his other "rhetorical treasures".

    Don't get too angry, he won't be around for long.

    February 23, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Florida Joe

    Must be a "compassionate conservative" thing

    February 23, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Monique

    How cruel...what gives him that right to make that type of statement. Has everyone lost their moral values in this country?

    February 23, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. J. Dean


    February 23, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Deanna in Denver

    Kevin, had he been speaking about your mother would you have found it offensive?

    February 23, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Felines For Freedom

    Well Bunning, sorry to hear you seek conservative judges. If that is the case, you better pray none of the justices pass away or retire while Obama is in office.

    February 23, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Soraya

    I can't believe he said that. This is tacky and tasteless.

    February 23, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Together Each Accmplishes More

    If I asked can Republicans get anymore disgusting, I think I would be afraid of the answer. .... probably goes to church on Sunday and prays for her death so some "conservative" might step into the empty seat.

    Apology not accepted! Like the 3rd grade bully on the playground – whines "I'm sorry" – only sorry they got caught!

    I am so sick of the republican so-called "leadership" – who all might get quite a wake-up call if Jesus decided to come back for judgment day ...

    February 23, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    @ Mathew, Detroit

    HAHAHA. Yeah, because that's precisely what she'd do...retire at such a time to give the GOP the chance they'vebeen waiting for to turn the most important document in our country into the King James Consitution.

    February 23, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. LIP

    Ginsburg is no fool. She has read what Pancreatic cancer is all about. Imagine 33,000 are diagnosed during the course of one year and 32,500 will die witthin one year of the diagnoses and the remaining 500 will die within maybe the next 1-4 years. Really lousy odds, but all that aside, I hope she beats it.

    February 23, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Worst part? His supporters in KY probably think him sayign that was awesome.

    February 23, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. July

    Your career will dead before she ....

    February 23, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    Bubba February 23rd, 2009 2:46 pm ET
    What a surprise! Bloodthirsty Repugs wishing an old lady would die! How utterly Christian and "family values" can you get?
    Way to broad brush an entire party for the words of a single moron!
    So since Geithner is a tax cheat, are you one too? As Clinton cheated on his wife, so did you, right?!

    February 23, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Robbie

    @ Al Ram

    Al, believe me, the People of Kentucky want him to go away...first there was Fletcher, now Bunning...these people are making this great state look bad

    February 23, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. joey from san diego

    aww come on, why you no allow my comment? You know she looks like a zombie. that is why you posted such an unflattering picture of her.

    February 23, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Parmeshwar Coomar

    Really this guy (senator) is a piece of work. Wishing the death of an honorable justice that has sickness from which she may or may not recover......would he have done this to someone in his near family. I am shocked at the insensitivity. All goes to show the value these people hold in their mind (which came out perhaps unknowingly) versus what they chant in public!

    February 23, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Russ

    Please advertise his opponent as soon as the candidate is known so that we can vote this sicko out of office. My wife, who is a cancer survivor, and I thank you!

    February 23, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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