Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s declining health revives debate over restrictions on Supreme Court terms

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has yet to make an appearance on the bench in 2019, leaving some wondering if she could soon be saying goodbye to the Supreme Court.

And according to the Daily Caller, RBG’s condition has brought to light the sad history of both mental incapacity and disability that has reared its ugly head on our Supreme Court before.

Ginsburg’s Health

According to her doctors, RBG is in great health, and we should expect her back on the bench any day now. However, at age 85, it is not unreasonable to wonder just how much longer she will be able to serve on the court in full capacity.

Her recent health problems, which include lung cancer and broken ribs, do not come without risk of additional complications. Several medical experts have chimed in over the last couple of months with suggestions that she is now far more susceptible to conditions such as pneumonia.

Of course, there is also the question of the toll the medications she is being prescribed are taking on her.

History Repeats

These concerns are not unfounded, as we have seen the repercussion of a lifetime appointment before among Supreme Court justices.

In fact, Justice Charles Evans Whittaker, who served from 1957 to 1962, was known to suffer from both depression and anxiety — conditions that only worsened with his time on the bench.

Whittaker was more or less forced to retire because of these ailments.

Justice William Rehnquist also suffered from health problems during his 14-year tenure.

Rehnquist, who joined the court in 1972, became addicted to Placidyl, a drug he was taking to help him sleep at night due to chronic back pain.

It was later revealed that Rehnquist had become delusional and was having hallucinations. But after going through a detoxification program, Rehnquist returned to the bench in full capacity before eventually being elevated to chief justice.

These are just two examples, but they highlight the need for our Supreme Court Justices to prove their mental capacity during their time on the bench.

Term limits have already been suggested, but the problems mentioned above would not be addressed by such an amendment. Perhaps it is time we require the most influential judges in our country to undergo some type of aptitude testing with every term as well as a full physical.

With so much at stake, we can hardly afford to have someone the bench that is anything less than 100 percent in both body and mind.

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