Court Battles

David Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart'

CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist David Axelrod responded Friday to news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had recently completed radiation treatment for a malignant tumor, writing that a vacancy on the high court could "tear this country apart."

"If there is a SCOTUS vacancy next year and @senatemajldr carries through on his extraordinary promise to fill it-despite his own previous precedent in blocking Garland-it will tear this country apart," Axelrod wrote, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocking former President Obama's final Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.

The Hill has reached out to McConnell's office for comment.

Ginsburg, 86, is the oldest member of the high court and has sat on its nine-member bench for 26 years. She has had cancer multiple times during her tenure. She had surgery in 1999 for colorectal cancer, a procedure for pancreatic cancer in 2009 and another operation to remove two malignant nodules in her lungs in December.

Her most recent treatment, announced by the Supreme Court on Friday, was to combat a tumor that was detected in early July during a routine blood test and was conducted on an outpatient basis at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. A stent was also inserted into her bile duct as part of the treatment.

The Supreme Court said in a statement Friday that Ginsburg "tolerated treatment well" and that "the tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body."

Concerns over Ginsburg's health and ability to continue on as a justice have prompted some to offer to donate their organs, while others have recommended cloaking her in bubble wrap.

Affectionately referred to as RBG by supporters, Ginsburg has emerged as a cultural icon for liberals who see her as a bulwark against President Trump's efforts to install more conservative justices.

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