Weekend at Ruthie’s

Michael Geiger

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Much is written about the deeply polarized nature of modern politics. These days, confirmation hearings and midterm elections feel more like trench warfare than typical government operations. 

Almost no other issue shines a brighter spotlight on this phenomenon than the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The justice’s medical complications began in 1999 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Ginsburg underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to deal with the disease.

10 years later, Ginsburg once again went under the knife to remove a cancerous tumor on her pancreas. Later that year, she was hospitalized for lightheadedness. 

In November 2014, a stent was placed on the justice’s right coronary artery after she experienced discomfort while working out. 

At that point in time, Ginsburg was 81-years-old with a legitimate history of medical issues. Fast forward four years and things have only gotten worse.

On November 8th, 2018 Ginsburg fell down in her office and fractured three ribs. While in this hospital, a CT scan revealed cancerous nodes had developed on her lungs. On December 21st, Ginsburg underwent a left-lung lobectomy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to remove the nodules.   

This forced the justice to miss two weeks of oral arguments, and Ginsburg has canceled several upcoming speaking engagements to recover from surgery.

Expecting any 85-year-old, even one with a clean bill of health, to perform their duties at peak performance is not realistic. But Ginsburg continues to push both sides of the political spectrum to their extremes.

On the left, scores of admirers desperately offer up their organs for Ginsburg’s use. On the right, there is a palpable sense of dread after positive reports come out about the Supreme Court justice’s health. 

It isn’t uncommon, especially these days, for each side to retreat to their respective corners, but this level of intense partisanship has pushed a large number of people to the point where they are rooting against the health of a Supreme Court Justice.

Now, that isn’t to say that it isn’t deeply irresponsible for Ginsburg to remain in office. One might criticize this opinion as biased and politically motivated, but I feel quite confident in my objectivity. 

Of course, the reason that the issue is so contentious is that Donald Trump sits in the White House. But Ginsburg had her chance to assuage the left’s anxiety. 

During Barack Obama’s tenure as president, many liberals called on the two eldest left-leaning justices, Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, to resign and clear the way for like-minded successors.

The egos of these two justices, Ginsburg’s especially, are the direct cause of the left’s fragile presence on the court. They made their bed, and now it is time to lie down in it. 

The Supreme Court is hallowed ground. It shouldn’t be reduced to Weekend at Ruthie’s.