Court Hawk
NBC News

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Diagnosed with Cancer – Again

Supreme Court Justice and liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg has, once again, been diagnosed with cancer. The justice, who is no stranger to illness, announced in a press release that she is undergoing chemo for the illness. Ginsberg, 87, told reporters that her treatment is going well. She seems to be in high spirits and is going to continue hearing cases with the court.

Ginsberg has fallen ill during her time on the court many times before. Prior instances of cancer have been beaten back by chemotherapy. Ginsburg has no reason to believe the same won’t hold true this time, too. Democrats in Washington, however, are less optimistic and chipper, noting Ginsberg’s advanced age as a cause for concern.

Ginsberg Health is Political Topic

Since Supreme Court Justices serve for life, there are few things that will remove them from office. Poor health and retiring are some of the only things that will remove a sitting Supreme Court justice. As such, Ginsberg’s health remains a major topic. Back in May, Ginsberg participated in oral arguments on the court from a hospital bed after a routine procedure.

The prospect of President Donald Trump nominating a third justice to the Supreme Court could become a major issue in November. The looming general election threatens to upend Washington in a major way.

Democrats are anticipating a huge turnout in voters, in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many voters could be motivated to vote for Trump’s likely opponent, Joe Biden, out of fear that Trump will nominate another Supreme Court justice should Ginsberg health take a turn for the worse.

Historic Precedent Could be Crux Point

There is a scenario that could play out following the general election that could cause major sparks to fly in Congress. If Donald Trump loses reelection, but Ginsberg leaves the court before Biden is inaugurated in January, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be in an awkward position. In 2015, President Barrack Obama appointed Merrick Garland, a centrist judge, to the Supreme Court. McConnell, however, refused to hear the judge’s confirmation, leaving him waiting for over a year.

McConnell’s reasoning for not hearing Obama’s nominee was that Obama was a “lame duck,” that he would be leaving in January of 2017. Should the shoe be on the other foot, it’s hard to imagine McConnell saying the same thing about a nomination from his own party. In such a scenario, McConnell would likely weather accusations of hypocrisy in order to further his party’s own gains.