Notorious R.B.G. down, but not out
WASHINGTON — Nothing stops all of Washington in its tracks like a news headline about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Badger Ginsburg’s health. Yesterday, as news spread that the 85-year-old jurist had been hospitalized, in an instant the midterms, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation and the future of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe became afterthoughts — at least momentarily — until it was clear Ginsberg was down, but not out. The gruesome political reality of that moment is plain: If anything happens to Ginsburg it would provide President Trump an appointment opportunity not seen since President Obama had a chance to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat after his sudden death in 2016 (a chance blocked by the GOP-led Senate.) Of course, talk radio and Twitter acted accordingly to news of Ginsberg’s Wednesday night fall at the court that left her with three broken ribs and sent her to a Washington hospital. As conservatives took to the airwaves calling for Ginsburg to step down, her liberal supporters suggested that she don a judicial robe made of bubble wrap and offered her their own body parts as replacements. “Ruth Bader Ginsberg can have my ribs. And my kidneys and a lung. And anything else she needs,” tweeted actress and liberal activist Alyssa Milano. “She can even have my husband on Thursdays.” “Don’t be ghouls, people. We wish her a speedy recovery,” tweeted former GOP presidential candidate turned radio personality Herman Cain. “Then, when she’s fully regained her health, we’d like her to retire.” It’s the latest in a series of spills and ailments suffered by the Clinton-appointed justice dubbed the “Notorious R.B.G.” by her fans. Most seriously, she survived bouts of colon and pancreatic cancer. In 2009, Ginsburg fainted out of her seat on a London-bound airplane, a spell later attributed to a bad reaction to a sedative and cold medication. She suffered two broken ribs in a spill in 2012 and heart surgery in 2014. Despite that history, Ginsberg has never missed an oral argument at the court. Yesterday, Ginsburg did miss Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s formal investiture ceremony at the court, which was attended by Trump, who kept his own feelings about Ginsburg’s condition to himself.
HEALTH CONCERNS: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at an event Jan. 30.