Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back in the hospital for a “minimally invasive non-surgical procedure” per a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court. Ginsburg, 87, is battling liver cancer but the current procedure is a “revised a bile duct stent” and is apparently not related to her cancer.
“According to her doctors, stent revisions are common occurrences and the procedure, performed using endoscopy and medical imaging guidance, was done to minimize the risk of future infection,” Kathy Arberg, the Court’s spokeswoman said in a statement reported by ABC News.
Ginsburg said in a statement on July 17 that her prognosis is good and that her most recent scan showed a reduction of the existing cancer and no new spots.
“Immunotherapy first proved unsuccessful,” Ginsburg wrote. “The chemotherapy course, however, is yielding positive results. Satisfied that my treatment course is now clear, I am providing this information.”
“I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that,” she added.
Conservatives, and particularly pro-life Christians, should pray for Ginsburg’s recovery. This is not only because wishing Ginsburg good health is the decent thing to do as a human being, but because of what effect a lame-duck vacancy on the Court would have on the country.
Depending on when the vacancy occurred, the situation would be different but most possibilities are uniformly bad. If Ginsburg’s seat opened up before the election, it would likely galvanize Democrats to get to the polls to protect the balance of the Court, the same way that Republicans did in 2016 after the death of Antonin Scalia.
If Mitch McConnell and President Trump decided to move forward a Trump nominee, the Republican Party would open itself up to charges of hypocrisy after McConnell’s rebuff of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. The left would go apoplectic and civil disturbances may well increase.
While conservatives and Republicans have typically approved of Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees, his Supreme Court picks have not been as popular with voters. Both Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were less popular than most nominees with Kavanaugh being particularly unpopular. Ramming through a Trump appointee would not bode well for Republican electoral chances.
Assuming that Republicans could force through a nominee, Joe Biden, the likely presidential victor, would be under intense pressure to take action. If Republicans lose both the White House and the Senate, as seems increasingly likely, there is a Democrat plan to pack the Court by adding justices. This would almost certainly require eliminating the filibuster as well.
If eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominees was the nuclear option, the court-packing plan would be the Death Star world-killer ray option. The fight would be intense and partisan divisions would be further cemented. Any hope for renewed civility and unity would disappear amid tribal rancor the likes of which we cannot begin to imagine.
For the good of the country, we should hope that Justice Ginsburg continues her recovery. A Supreme Court nomination fight needs to be delayed until America is better equipped to handle it.
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