Justice Ginsburg Hospitalized
Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg has been
because she felt light headed. In July she was given a physical
examination. Her official statement then said:
"She was in completely normal health with the exception of a low red blood cell count caused by deficiency of iron.
Intravenous iron therapy was administered in a standard fashion."
The only detail it somehow forgot to mention is that she had pancreatic
cancer--which is fatal within a few years nearly all the time.
A larger question raised by Ginsburg is that some players never seem
to know when to exit stage left. (see: Paterson, David).
Ginsburg is 76. She has been on the court for 16 years.
She had a brilliant and effective career.
There is now a President who would most likely appoint a successor in
her mold and a Senate that has enough Democratic votes to confirm her
She has a usually-fatal disease.
Maybe she could hang on for another year or two, at which time the
Democrats might or might not have enough votes in the Senate to invoke cloture
if the Republicans decide to filibuster her successor. What's she
waiting for? The situation is different for John Paul Stevens.
While he is 89, he has no known serious disease and is able to do his
job fully, although he has not hired the full complement of clerks
that he normally does, leading to rumors that he is going to hang up
his robe at the end of this year's session of the court.
Apparently, once someone achieves a position of great power, that person
finds it very hard to give it up, even if calling it quits would better
serve that person's higher goals.
Patrick Names Kirk to the Senate
Masschusetts just gave the governor the power to appoint an interim
senator to fill the seat of the late senator Ted Kennedy until the
winner of the Jan. 19 election is seated. He used that power immediately
to appoint Paul Kirk, a former aide to Kennedy, a former chairman of
the Democratic National Committee (1985-1989), and a former registered
lobbyist for the Aventis drug company. Given this background and his
lack of seniority, it is likely that when push comes to shove, he will
be a loyal vote for the Democrats, despite his lobbying background.
Still, he is the poster boy for the kind of revolving door between
government and lobbying that President Obama railed against during his
Steele Withdraws Support from Mark Kirk
Speaking of people named Kirk, RNC chairman Michael Steele has
withdrawn his endorsement of Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who is running to
fill Barack Obama's seat in the Senate, now occupied by Roland Burris (D-IL),
who is not running in 2010.
If Steele indeed takes back his endorsement, it may lead to a more
lively primary for Kirk, who is neverthless the favorite in the primary.
Senate Finance Committee Likely to Vote on Public Option Tomorrow
If everything goes according to schedule, the Senate Finance Committee
will vote on a pair of "public option" amendments tomorrow.
The first one to be
will be that of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) that creates a robust
public option similar to that urged by House progressives.
If that one fails, a back-up amendment offered by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
will be considered. It proposes a weaker option, more like the one in
the Senate HELP bill. All the Republicans on the committee are expected
to vote against both of them, so the amendments will only pass if pretty
much all the Democrats stick together, an unlikely event.
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