Ruth Bader Ginsburg Treated for Malignant Pancreatic Tumor

by Daveda Gruber:

It was announced on Friday that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is allegedly feeling good and getting better after three weeks of radiation therapy for a tumor on her pancreas.

Ginsburg is reported to have had a malignant tumor on her pancreas that was successfully treated.

A court spokesperson said in a statement, “The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. Justice Ginsburg will continue to have periodic blood tests and scans. No further treatment is needed at this time.”

This past July, the Supreme Court Justice had a routine blood test and an abnormality appeared. A biopsy was done and it revealed the tumor.

Radiation treatment for Ginsburg started on August 5th at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The treatment was said to have been done with Bader Ginsburg being an outpatient.

Ginsburg is 86 years old and is said to have tolerated the treatment well. A bile duct stent was placed on her pancreas.

The statement also said, “The Justice tolerated treatment well. She canceled her annual summer visit to Santa Fe, but has otherwise maintained an active schedule.”

Ginsburg has made it clear that she has no intention of stepping down from the bench. She plans to hold her seat for as long as her health permits.

Ginsburg has had her fair share of ill health. She had surgery cancer surgery in December. She had colorectal cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Justices usually return to work in September to begin the new Supreme Court term, which will begin on October 7th. I’ll be interested to see who shows up for work.

RBG Returns to the Bench for Ruling on Excessive Seizure of Property by States

by Daveda Gruber:

On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that marked the first time the court has applied the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines at the state level.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the court’s opinion and read a summary of her opinion in the courtroom.

The 85-year-old justice missed arguments last month following lung cancer surgery, but returned to the bench on Tuesday.

The outcome could help efforts to rein in police seizure of property from criminal suspects.

Ginsburg’s opinion piece was in favor of Tyson Timbs, of Marion, Indiana. Police seized Timbs’ $40,000 Land Rover when they arrested him for selling about $400 worth of heroin.

Ginsburg noted that governments employ fines “out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence” because fines are a source of revenue.

Ginsburg wrote, “Protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history for good reason: Such fines undermine other liberties. They can be used, e.g., to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies. They can also be employed, not in service of penal purposes, but as a source of revenue.”

Timbs had twice previously sold drugs to undercover officers. The Land Rover was purchased with money Timbs received from his father’s life insurance policy after his death in 2012.

After his arrest, Timbs pleaded guilty to one count of dealing in a controlled substance. He was sentenced to one year of home detention and five years of probation, and had to pay court fees and fines totaling $1,200.

A trial court in Indiana and the Indiana Court of Appeals found that taking the Land Rover would be “grossly disproportional to the gravity” of Timbs’ offense and unconstitutional under the Constitution’s excessive fines clause.

The trial judge noted Timbs’ vehicle was worth roughly four times the maximum monetary fine of $10,000 the state could have levied against him for his crimes.

The Indiana Supreme Court disagreed, and said the Supreme Court “has never held that the states are subject to the Excessive Fines Clause.”

The SCOTUS ruling was unanimous and Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate opinion outlining different reasons for reaching the same conclusion. He wrote that “the right to be free from excessive fines is one of the ‘privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States’ protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Ginsburg’s opinion was based on the due process clause of the same amendment.

The Supreme Court sent the case of Tyson Timbs back to a lower court to decide if Indiana officials went too far in seizing Timbs’ Land Rover.

The high court’s ruling could now limit the ability for states and cities to carry out an increasingly common practice of imposing steep fines and seizing property.