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. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    Nothing like a backhanded "apology" from an "apologetic" politician. Human decency has long been abandoned in politics.

    February 23, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Tom

    Should have stuck with Baseball, Jim. Gosh, you don't even know how to spell her name. Pretty sad for a Senator, oh that's right you were a Yankee.

    I know someone who lived for 2 years after being diagnosed so even your "facts" are incorrect.

    How do these people keep getting elected?.

    February 23, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. George

    Senator Bunning's remarks may or may not have offended Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg but they have undoubtedly offended most Americans who heard them. Hopefully sufficient numbers of Kentucky voters are offended by the Senator's remarks, and his overall performance, to replace him next year.

    February 23, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    No home-training or manners. He needs to Read this book Tongue in Check. The difference between a mature person and one who is not, is knowing when to say what.

    February 23, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Amber

    This is silly, pancreatic cancer is one of the most danergous forms of cancer to have and people are diagnosed tend not to live long. Yes it is sad but true

    February 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. mary

    Who voted this idiot into office??? Rest assured the conservatives will vote him in again !!!!

    February 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. KC

    People calm down. If Ginsberg does die within 9 months then obviously, she will be replaced by an extremely liberal judge as Obama will be the President to make that determination. Gee whiz. Yes, his comments were crass but don't worry your liberalism will be safe.

    February 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. AJ in CA

    Senator Bunning please do your research before you speak:

    In November 2002, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was a candidate for surgery. On February 14, 2003 he had the same Whipple procedure as Justice Ginsburg. After recovering from surgery he was put on chemo and radiation treatments. For the last six years he has been on what we call "maintenance chemo" (4 weeks on chemo & 4 weeks off) which keeps the cancer at bay.

    There are a lot of survivors of this type of cancer that have survived more than 9 months, don't try to take them away from their families, Senator!!

    February 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. bernj

    How stupid and insensitive can you be? This man needs to hide in a hole until the Lord.....er.....make that Lucifer....calls him home.

    February 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. tom

    Although the remark was in bad taste, actuarial tables actually give her about 6 months to live. At least she will still live longer than most of the babies that are victims of Roe vs. Wade which she supports. I just love getting liberals fired up – it is soooooo much fun.

    February 23, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. allwoman

    By all accounts, this dude is not abiding by Christian values!

    February 23, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. John -- White Plains, NY

    Justices Ginsburg - welcome back. I wish you Godspeed and improved good health.

    Senator "Dumbing" and I do mean Dumb, you are narrow minded and cannot hold a candle to Justice Ginsburg's intellect and her overall contribution to American society and American Jurisprudence. Let's just hope no one make similar comments about anyone that you care about such as a family member who may God forbid, become ill with cancer.

    Use your head for more than a hat rack...or in your case, a dunce cap..Idiot...

    February 23, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Matthew, Detroit

    Blah Blah Blah,...

    Its not like he wished the old bag death.

    He simply said the first thing that was on EVERYONES mind, she has

    to be replaced and who is it going to be.

    Get over it and stop trying to make the guy look evil.

    He may not share any empathy with you but he is not evil.

    February 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Joe the Plumber

    what a surprise..all the liberals getting all angry. I wonder if Harry Reid said something about a conservative justice in Ginsberg's situation, they would think he was right and funny.


    February 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Shay

    This senator is despicable!!! As far as I am concerned Bunning represents what the Republicans have become. I think they are very hateful and mean spirited people!

    God Bless Justice Ginsberg!

    February 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Richie

    What a flipping jerk. Vote out these repugs.

    February 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. GP

    Anyone see a problem with this apology?

    “I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg..."

    An apology should not contain the word 'IF'. Here's how an apology in the old days would look:

    “I apologize for my offensive comments towards Justice Ginsberg"

    His apology is contingent on whether or not Ginsberg was offended. If he felt that an apology was warranted then why not just issue an apology rather than a CYA based apology? He obviously does not regret or feel remorse for the thing he said, otherwise he would own it in its entirety without exception.

    February 23, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Greg in Colorado

    Maybe he is predicting his own future... that would make one more seat for the dems!! Horray!!!

    February 23, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Matthew, Detroit


    We need the old bird to hold out until 2013 and then she car retire

    to a nice home down in Floriday.

    Get better babe and go to chruch. It might help you to pray a little.

    February 23, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. The Cupcake

    Bunning KY – Rush – Rep. Bachman MN The Money Changers in the Temples are just pounding more nails in the GOP coffin. We do not need these people pretending to lead our country.

    The Cupcake @
    Rancho Brooklyn Park MN

    February 23, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. Robbie

    @ Alfred E Neumann

    How, exactly, does Bunning's own words say more about Kentucky than it says about Bunning? So does that mean whenever an elected official from your area says something backwards and offensive, I have every right to generalize that crudeness onto you and your family and friends? Ditch the superiority issues, red states have blue constituents too, and most of the red constituents are far more decent than Bunning could ever hope to be.

    February 23, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. Carolyn

    How in the Sam Hill do these idiots keep getting elected. Some one should figure out some kind of stupid test instead of all this endless campaigning. God help the Kentuckians.

    February 23, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. gardner

    this sounds like when the news media prematurely announced patrick swayze dead..when the man was fighting several illnesses & for his life, "disrespectful". Sometimes we have an inckling to want to be the first ones to "call the story", even when there is no story there?

    February 23, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. freespeech101

    are we really surprised at this?

    February 23, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Justin

    Exceptionally poor judgment, despicable callousness, and opportunistic behavior from "the party of values." Nice.

    February 23, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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