Bunning Apologizes for Ginsburg Comment

Posted February 23, 2009 at 1:59pm

Updated: 3:50 p.m.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) on Monday apologized for comments he made Saturday suggesting that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be dead from pancreatic cancer within nine months, saying he did not intend to insult the ailing jurist.

Yet even as Bunning issued his statement, the two-term Republican incorrectly spelled Ginsburg’s name twice.

Ginsburg returned to the court Monday, just weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a pancreatic tumor. Her illness has sparked some speculation about her future on the bench, including her possible retirement, although her doctors and allies have said the cancer was caught early and that she is on the road to recovery.

Bunning, who is facing a tough re-election race in 2010, on Saturday predicted that Ginsburg’s death was imminent. Speaking at the Hardin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, Bunning said a judicial nomination fight would occur this year in the Senate “because Ruth Bader Ginsburg … has cancer … bad cancer. The kind that you don’t get better from.”

“Even though she was operated on, usually, nine months is the longest that anybody would live” with pancreatic cancer, he added.

Yet in a statement released by his office Monday, Bunning apologized, saying: “I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg. 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.”