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February 24, 2009

Bunning v. Ginsburg

Image Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sounds pretty darn sharp for someone who is, you know, dying. Maybe someone should tell  Doctor Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky.

The Lousville Courier Journal has the story, of how Bunning over the weekend declared that it was his expectation that Justice Ginsburg would be dead within nine months. Bunning was giving his learned prognosis, apparently, in the context of warning his constituents about the dangers of an Obama appointment to the court.

Clearly, it's time for a debate between Justice Ginsburg and Herr Doktor Sen. Bunning. It could be a chance to see who is more on the ball. Or, put another way, who is compos mentos and who is not. And just to even the playing field, Suits & Sentences will allow Sen. Bunning to use a TelePrompter, just as he is accustomed to using during debates.

In the two cases heard heard Monday morning, three weeks after her pancreatic surgery, Justice Ginsburg was a persistent participant in oral argument. Here, illustratively, is Justice Ginsburg pressing questions concerning peremptory challenges in the case Rivera v. Illinois:

Now answer the question that you didn't answer; that is, what is the consequence under State law of an erroneous denial of a peremptory? You would have no objection to such a remand?"

The oral argument transcripts in Rivera and the other case heard Monday, United States v. Navaho Nation, show Justice Ginsburg definitely on her game.

Word spoken by Justice Ginsburg in the two oral arguments:                       816
Words spoken by Justice Clarence Thomas in the two oral arguments:            0
Words written by Sen. Bunning in his apology to Justice Ginsburg:                42
Number of times Bunning misspelled Ginsburg's name in original apology:          1


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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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