Loading
Search

TOP STORY

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87Submitted: 09/18/2020
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women's rights champion who became the court's second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.

Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.

Her death just over six weeks before Election Day is likely to set off a heated battle over whether President Donald Trump should nominate, and the Republican-led Senate should confirm, her replacement, or if the seat should remain vacant until the outcome of his race against Democrat Joe Biden is known. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said late Friday that the Senate will vote on Trump's pick to replace Ginsburg, even though it's an election year.

Trump called Ginsburg an "amazing woman" and did not mention filling her vacant Supreme Court seat when he spoke to reporters following a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Chief Justice John Roberts mourned Ginsburg's passing. "Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her " a tireless and resolute champion of justice," Roberts said in a statement.

Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.

Ginsburg spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court's liberal wing and became something of a rock star to her admirers. Young women especially seemed to embrace the court's Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the Notorious RBG, for her defense of the rights of women and minorities, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.

Those health issues included five bouts with cancer beginning in 1999, falls that resulted in broken ribs, insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery and assorted other hospitalizations after she turned 75.

She resisted calls by liberals to retire during Barack Obama's presidency at a time when Democrats held the Senate and a replacement with similar views could have been confirmed. Instead, Trump will almost certainly try to push Ginsburg's successor through the Republican-controlled Senate " and move the conservative court even more to the right.

Ginsburg antagonized Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign in a series of media interviews, including calling him a faker. She soon apologized.

Her appointment by President Bill Clinton in 1993 was the first by a Democrat in 26 years. She initially found a comfortable ideological home somewhere left of center on a conservative court dominated by Republican appointees. Her liberal voice grew stronger the longer she served.

Ginsburg was a mother of two, an opera lover and an intellectual who watched arguments behind oversized glasses for many years, though she ditched them for more fashionable frames in her later years. At argument sessions in the ornate courtroom, she was known for digging deep into case records and for being a stickler for following the rules.

She argued six key cases before the court in the 1970s when she was an architect of the women's rights movement. She won five.

"Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not need a seat on the Supreme Court to earn her place in the American history books," Clinton said at the time of her appointment. "She has already done that."

On the court, where she was known as a facile writer, her most significant majority opinions were the 1996 ruling that ordered the Virginia Military Institute to accept women or give up its state funding, and the 2015 decision that upheld independent commissions some states use to draw congressional districts.

Besides civil rights, Ginsburg took an interest in capital punishment, voting repeatedly to limit its use. During her tenure, the court declared it unconstitutional for states to execute the intellectually disabled and killers younger than 18.

In addition, she questioned the quality of lawyers for poor accused murderers. In the most divisive of cases, including the Bush v. Gore decision in 2000, she was often at odds with the court's more conservative members " initially Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

The division remained the same after John Roberts replaced Rehnquist as chief justice, Samuel Alito took O'Connor's seat, and, under Trump, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined the court, in seats that had been held by Scalia and Kennedy, respectively.

Ginsburg would say later that the 5-4 decision that settled the 2000 presidential election for Republican George W. Bush was a "breathtaking episode" at the court.

She was perhaps personally closest on the court to Scalia, her ideological opposite. Ginsburg once explained that she took Scalia's sometimes biting dissents as a challenge to be met. "How am I going to answer this in a way that's a real putdown?" she said.

When Scalia died in 2016, also an election year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to act on Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the opening. The seat remained vacant until after Trump's surprising presidential victory. McConnell has said he would move to confirm a Trump nominee if there were a vacancy this year.

Reached by phone late Friday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, declined to disclose any plans. He called Ginsburg a "trailblazer" and said, "While I had many differences with her on legal philosophy, I appreciate her service to our nation."

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer tweeted: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

Ginsburg authored powerful dissents of her own in cases involving abortion, voting rights and pay discrimination against women. She said some were aimed at swaying the opinions of her fellow judges while others were "an appeal to the intelligence of another day" in the hopes that they would provide guidance to future courts.

"Hope springs eternal," she said in 2007, "and when I am writing a dissent, I'm always hoping for that fifth or sixth vote " even though I'm disappointed more often than not."

She wrote memorably in 2013 that the court's decision to cut out a key part of the federal law that had ensured the voting rights of Black people, Hispanics and other minorities was "like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

Change on the court hit Ginsburg especially hard. She dissented forcefully from the court's decision in 2007 to uphold a nationwide ban on an abortion procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion. The court, with O'Connor still on it, had struck down a similar state ban seven years earlier. The "alarming" ruling, Ginsburg said, "cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court " and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives."

In 1999, Ginsburg had surgery for colon cancer and received radiation and chemotherapy. She had surgery again in 2009 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in December 2018 for cancerous growths on her left lung. Following the last surgery, she missed court sessions for the first time in more than 25 years on the bench.

Ginsburg also was treated with radiation for a tumor on her pancreas in August 2019. She maintained an active schedule even during the three weeks of radiation. When she revealed a recurrence of her cancer in July 2020, Ginsburg said she remained "fully able" to continue as a justice.

Joan Ruth Bader was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, the second daughter in a middle-class family. Her older sister, who gave her the lifelong nickname "Kiki," died at age 6, so Ginsburg grew up in Brooklyn's Flatbush section as an only child. Her dream, she has said, was to be an opera singer.

Ginsburg graduated at the top of her Columbia University law school class in 1959 but could not find a law firm willing to hire her. She had "three strikes against her" " for being Jewish, female and a mother, as she put it in 2007.

She had married her husband, Martin, in 1954, the year she graduated from Cornell University. She attended Harvard University's law school but transferred to Columbia when her husband took a law job there. Martin Ginsburg went on to become a prominent tax attorney and law professor. Martin Ginsburg died in 2010. She is survived by two children, Jane and James, and several grandchildren.

Ginsburg once said that she had not entered the law as an equal-rights champion. "I thought I could do a lawyer's job better than any other," she wrote. "I have no talent in the arts, but I do write fairly well and analyze problems clearly."


Story By: Associated Press
Photo By: Supreme Court of the United States

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story



 LOCAL NEWS

Play Video

- A lot is happening underwater while Wisconsin is transitioning from summer, to fall, and winter.

But we don't really see those changes. Though we might be getting out of the water, fish can still thrive in the colder temperatures.

DNR Fisheries Supervisor John Kubisiak explains exactly how.

"These fish have been around for millions of years so they've had a long time to deal with these annual temperature cycles of course," Kubisiak said.

In the fall, a lake's temperature gets closer and closer to freezing.

Fish are cold-blooded. Meaning, their environment's temperature controls their body temperature. Kubisiak said the reason why the lake temperature is such a big issue is because that drives their metabolic processes.

How exactly do the fish prepare for the cold weather?

+ Read More

MADISON -
Wisconsin health officials reported 2,533 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide Friday, a new daily record. The old record was 2,034, set on Thursday.

The state has now seen 97,279 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March.

+ Read More

MOSINEE - President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric on cultural issues, aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he tries to repeat his path to victory four years ago.

Making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year, Trump views success in the state's less-populated counties as critical to another term. He held a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016, enabling Trump to overcome even greater deficits in urban and suburban parts of the state.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - This evening shortly after five the Oneida County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call reporting a two-bike motorcycle crash at the Woodpecker Bar on County Road K.

Law enforcement says one of the bikes was slowing down to turn and the bike behind it did not have time to stop, causing the crash.

+ Read More
+ More Local News



 REGIONAL NEWS

MADISON - The state Department of Workforce Development's top leader resigned Friday after failing to find a way to address a massive backlog of unprocessed unemployment benefit claims sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' office said Caleb Frostman stepped down after the governor called for his resignation. Republicans have peppered Evers with criticism for months over the department's inability to process tens of thousands of benefit claims that have been flowing in since the coronavirus took hold in the U.S. in March.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students' standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday.

School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved around the 2018-19 standardized test scores that the department released that September.

+ Read More

SUAMICO - A high school teacher in northeastern Wisconsin has died after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Officials with the Howard-Suamico School District sent a letter to its students' families notifying them that Heidi Hussli had died on Thursday. The letter said the Bay Port High School German teacher was hospitalized briefly before her death.

+ Read More

MADISON -
Wisconsin hospitals and health systems are well-known for providing high-quality and accessible care for Wisconsin citizens, according to a new study released Wednesday by HC Trends, a research affiliate of BSG Analytics (BSGA), Wisconsin enjoys high health care value when key indicators of cost and quality are measured.

"As Wisconsin residents face the upcoming election amid the continued uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, health care and its associated costs are top of mind for residents of the Badger State," said Eric Borgerding, WHA President and CEO. "We are fortunate, as this report confirms, that Wisconsin has a stable, high quality, and accessible health care system that provides tremendous value to health care consumers."

The report aims to shed new light on health care costs in Wisconsin through a comprehensive analysis that goes beyond unit price to evaluate key indicators of overall health care value, including quality of care, access to care, and health care utilization (how efficiently providers give care). 

The HC Trends report concludes that when using data that provides the most comprehensive statewide picture of health care:
  • Wisconsin is consistently in the top tier of states for the quality of health care delivered and access to care
  • Wisconsin's health systems use 6 to 10 percent fewer medical services than other states while consistently achieving some of the highest quality care in the country.
  • Wisconsin health care premiums, which can be used as a proxy for total health care costs since they account for both unit price and utilization, have improved over time and are now close to or at the national average.
In the analysis, the researchers at HC Trends and BSGA reviewed numerous studies that have compared health care costs in Wisconsin to other regions, drawing on 20 years of experience to evaluate the methodologies used in assessing Wisconsin's health care value. 

They conclude that any credible study should be transparent, clearly defined and use data sets that are accessible, accurate, also clearly defined and properly segregated. In their review, BSGA found that unfortunately most studies that attempted to evaluate Wisconsin health care costs have neglected to include key factors in their analysis, and fail to arrive at an accurate conclusion regarding Wisconsin health care value.

"Businesses, consumers, and policy makers alike all want access to accurate data about the costs of health care," said Borgerding. "Here in Wisconsin, we have a long tradition of integrated care, which means care is better coordinated, aligned and efficient. Studies that only take into account isolated cost indicators fail to consider what is unique about Wisconsin and ultimately only serve to reduce transparency and clarity about the true value of health care in Wisconsin."

You can see the full study from HC Trends here

+ Read More
+ More Regional News
Search: