THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Obama’s Judgment On Judges: Santa Clara University (CA) political scientists Terri Peretti and Alan Rozzi examined Supreme Court retirements from the 1953 through the 2006 terms and found that “justices care more about power than party and policy,” reports The National Law Journal:
[T]heir retirement decisions are influenced by three dominant factors:
† Their sense of ideological mission.
† Their institutional influence and leverage when writing majority opinions.
† The time of next presidential election.
"Timing their retirement to insure an ideologically-suitable replacement may in fact be a goal of Supreme Court Justices," [Peretti and Rozzi] said. "However, that goal appears to be secondary to other objectives such as continuing to exercise power and preserving their ideological and leadership roles on the Court. …
A quick look at the historical record, the authors found, indicates that, in the roughly five decades from 1954 to 2006, 11 of the 22 justices leaving the bench (50 percent) did so under a co-partisan president, and 13 of 22 (59 percent) were replaced by co-partisan successors.
"If Supreme Court justices wish to provide co-partisan presidents with the opportunity to replace them with co-partisan successors, they are failing nearly half of the time," they said.
Supreme Court watchers’ speculation that having Barack Obama in the White House to replace them with ideologically compatible justices may induce the Court’s three liberals, John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to hang up their robes, may no longer be idle chatter – at least for one of them.
Ginsburg, 75, underwent surgery in New York City on Thursday to treat early-stage pancreatic cancer, and is expected to remain at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for seven to 10 days. One cancer specialist believes that, “[g]iven the length of the hospital stay and the location of the tumor, she probably underwent a distal pancreatectomy (removal of the end of the pancreas) and likely had her spleen removed as well. Pancreatic cancer has a high recurrence rate, so Ginsburg will probably undergo chemotherapy and radiation. The Court is on recess Feb. 23rd.
Legal Times reports that when Ginsburg developed colon cancer 10 years ago she scheduled her therapy around the Court’s calendar and did not miss a day.
Her prognosis may be very different this time.
AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard notes that only 10 percent of pancreatic cancer patients are surgically as Ginsburg was, because the vast majority of cases involve an aggressive, form of the disease known as adenocarcinoma that is typically inoperable by the time it is detected:
This is one of the most formidable cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 38,000 people last year were diagnosed with it, and no more than 5 percent overall survive five years.
But look at those whose cancer is caught early enough for surgery, followed by chemotherapy, and that five-year survival grows, reaching anywhere from 20 percent to 24 percent.
And very occasionally - 10 percent to 15 percent of the time - patients have a far less aggressive form of pancreatic cancer called an islet-cell tumor. Those sometimes are curable.
This is key: Ginsburg, who survived colon cancer a decade ago, reported no symptoms - but doctors spotted the very small new tumor by accident when she had a CT scan as part of a regular checkup.
The Stiletto knows all too well how remorseless pancreatic cancer can be. Less than a month after her next-door neighbor began exhibiting the classic signs of the disease – jaundice, itching, weight loss and abdominal pain – she was dead. What’s even more heartbreaking, she knew she was a goner and spent the last days of her life cooking and freezing homemade Italian meals for her husband – who couldn’t boil water – to subsist on after she passed.
† Putting The Cart Before The Horse: A new sign was unveiled above the entrance of a school that was known to generations of Long Island kids as Ludlum Elementary School, but will henceforth be known as Barack Obama Elementary. The Stiletto doesn’t know why the word “School” was left off the new sign. At first she thought the school district was using a quota system that limited signs to three words. But then she saw another news article that said the school has been renamed “Barack Obama Elementary Scchool” [sic]. One of these signs is clearly wrong (or maybe both are). Which only proves that you can’t rush these things.
† Homeland Security Begins At Home: Lorraine Henderson, the Boston area port director for Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection, is facing 10 years in prison on a charge that she encouraged her Brazilian housekeeper to remain in the U.S. illegally, reports The Associated Press.
† Every Bubble Bursts Eventually: Judith Warner illustrates better than anyone else can why her New York Times column is called “Domestic Disturbances.” Copyright restrictions prevent The Stiletto from posting it in full so you’re gonna have to read this highly, um, disturbing piece of work yourself.
† Updates To Previous Posts (10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador spotlights a family on Staten Island, NY, CNN found that has an unusual hobby. The Humphreys - 7-year-old Karen, 11-year-old Brianna, mom Barbara and dad Scott - collect other people’s lost change:
Barbara came up with the idea to collect "found" money in 2005, dismayed that people kept walking past money on a hallway floor at her college. …
“[I]ts been 3½ years, and it's almost $1,100." …
Once they reach $10,000, the family says, they'll donate it to a charity, explaining that there's a karmic element to their collecting:
"Whatever the community gives you, you should help it when it's having a hard time and give back," 11-year-old Brianna stated proudly.
[Hat Tip: The Heel, an Ivy-educated attorney with a prestigious New York firm, and occasional contributor to this blog.]