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2 May, 2005  
Justice Michael Kirby has emergency heart operation

News flash. Justice Michael Kirby has emergency heart by-pass surgery at Royal Prince Alfred. He’s ordered to take it quietly but is still working from his bed. Health anxiety enlivens vacancy speculation

imageHigh Court justice Michael Kirby has just undergone heart by-pass surgery at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

He has spent the past week in hospital and is returning home to Rose Bay tomorrow. He is expected to be away from the court for at least a couple more weeks.

Anxious friends have been writing to him concerned that this sudden problem with his ticker might give the Howard government an unexpected opportunity to get another desiccated stick onto the court.

McHuge, a Labor appointee from 1989, retires in November and if Kirbs was too ill and had to step down the only surviving Labor government appointment would be Gummo.

Kirby went to see a doctor just over a week ago saying he was feeling a bit woozy. The quack checked him out and said he better get off to hospital. Kirby said he had judgments to complete and needed to get back to his chambers.

“Not this time, you don’t” said the specialist.

We understand that Kirby has been dictating some work from hospital and will try and do more work when he gets home. However, the workaholic is under strict instructions to ease-up.

The High Court it is not saying anything officially about this turn of events, only that it does not expect the normal flow of publishing judgments to be interrupted.

It’s sad that the only judge on the court with a heart is now having trouble with it.