No­to­ri­ous R.B.G. down, but not out

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By KIM­BERLY ATKINS — kim­berly.atkins@boston­her­ald.com

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.

AP FILE

HEALTH CON­CERNS: Supreme Court Jus­tice Ruth Bader Gins­burg speaks at an event Jan. 30.

GETTY IM­AGES FILE

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