Lucas Aulbach, Louisville Courier Journal
Published 10:59 a.m. ET July 25, 2019
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg probably does more push-ups than you.
It’s been a long time, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg clearly hasn’t forgotten some controversial comments by former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.
When the subject of her health came up in an interview this week with NPR, the longtime U.S. Supreme Court justice didn’t mention Bunning by name but had a lot to say about some remarks he made in 2009, weeks after Ginsburg had undergone pancreatic cancer surgery.
“There was a senator, I think it was after the pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months,” Ginsburg said in an interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg. “That senator, whose name I’ve forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive.”
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Bunning, who represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate fom 1999 to 2011, made plenty of controversial remarks in his career. But his comments about Ginsburg in 2009 drew a notable amount of heat.
Bunning, who had no medical background, said during a speech at the time that Ginsburg had “bad cancer. The kind that you don’t get better from.” Even though she had undergone surgery to treat the cancer, he said, “usually nine months is the longest that anybody would live.”
He later apologized for the remarks and said it was “great to see her back” in the court 18 days after her surgery. He didn’t run for reelection in 2010 and was replaced in the Senate by Rand Paul in 2011. Bunning died in 2017 following complications from a stroke he had suffered months earlier.
Ginsburg underwent surgery in late 2018 after cancerous nodules were found in her lungs. She has since returned to the Supreme Court.
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