Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to hospital on Wednesday where she underwent heart surgery to address a blockage in her right coronary artery. “The coronary blockage was discovered after Justice Ginsburg experienced discomfort during routine exercise last night and was taken to the hospital,” read a statement on her condition. “She is resting comfortably and is expected to be discharged in the next 48 hours.”
Now, health scares like these are nothing to joke about, and all our readers surely wish “The Notorious R.B.G.” well. That having been said, it would be dishonest to not note the fact that Ginsburg’s “allies” have long wished that the aging justice would do her party a favor and get out of the way before Barack Obama leaves office so that he can appoint a more youthful replacement.
“Ginsburg need only look down the bench to see the embodiment of the risk she is running,” The Boston Globe’s Kent Greenfield warned in an op-ed urging Ginsburg to retire. “Ginsburg has soldiered on through bouts with cancer, the death of her spouse, and two decades of battles with Scalia and Thomas. But if we reach the end of this term without her retirement, it will be a victory for those who oppose everything she stands for.”
“If a Republican president replaces Ginsburg, conservatives will have six votes on the Court,” The Daily Beast’s Adam Winkler fretted. “The new swing vote might just be the conservative chief justice himself. Is he the one Ginsburg wants to cast the deciding vote in important constitutional controversies?”
The president himself nursed the notion that Ginsburg, the Court’s oldest justice, was not long for the bench when he told a group of donors to in the spring that he planned to have “Supreme Court appointments” before his presidency was out.
To her credit, Ginsburg has not outwardly displayed the dissatisfaction she must be feeling given the extent to which her ideological brethren would prefer that she put her storied career to a speedy end in order to advance the Democratic Party’s prospects. “As long as I can do the job full steam, I will stay here,” she told The New Republic in September. “I think I will know when I’m no longer able to think as lucidly, to remember as well, to write as fast.”
Here’s hoping that Ginsburg enjoys a speedy recovery and that her medical team consists entirely of Republicans.
This post has been updated since its original publication.