The Associate Justice has not made a public appearance, as of today,* for 51 consecutive days. Her most recent appearance occurred on December 15, 2018, when she recorded an interview at “The Museum of the City of New York,” broadcast on a few different networks in early January. (1) However, it has been 60 days since she was last seen on the bench – December 6, 2018. (2)
Moreover, Justice Ginsburg has canceled or missed at least three recent public appearances. She canceled one event on January 29 entitled, “An Evening With Ruth Bader Ginsburg” at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. (3) She also canceled her appearance at 92nd Y Street Jewish Cultural Center in New York where she was slated to have a public conversation with David Rubinstein on February 6. (4) Earlier, Ginsburg missed all oral arguments from January 7 through January 16, as well as all non-argument sessions and conference days with the court up to that point since her hospitalization. (5)
As of yesterday, Justice Ginsburg – who normally averages one or two major public appearances per week – has completely cleared her public speaking and engagement schedule until July of this year. (6)
There still isn’t any official word if Ruth Ginsburg is going to be at the State of the Union Address Tuesday. However, it isn’t uncommon for Supreme Court Justices to skip those, either. For example, Antonin Scalia did not attend the State of the Union for 20 consecutive years. (7) Ginsburg has also chosen to skip the SOTU. After engaging in a spat with President Trump last year, Ginsburg did not attend the State of the Union.
Justice Ginsburg’s absence from office and public life has led some in conservative camps to suggest that she has died or is hiding. Progressives have lampooned that suggestion, noting that Ginsburg has been in communications with a documentary crew as recently as last week, and that she has continued to read transcripts of oral arguments (supposedly with the full approval of Chief Justice John Roberts). (9)
Allegedly, Ginsburg is also writing opinions for court cases whose oral arguments she wasn’t able to attend due to her medical limitations. (10) Whatever her status, no one on the left or right can say for sure where Justice Ginsburg is, and what further medical issues she may be suffering from. This has led to rampant speculation and some reporting errors. Recently, “Fox and Friends” reported that the Justice had passed away. (11)
The US Supreme Court is set to reconvene for oral arguments on February 19, following its standard one-month break after the two weeks of arguments in January. All eyes will be on Washington DC to see if Justice Ginsburg will be able to attend those deliberations.
If she doesn’t show up publicly before then, speculation as to her well-being will continue to mount. Already, nonmainstream websites are claiming that Justice Ginsburg has contracted pneumonia. Some of this has probably been motivated by the December 21 report of Dr. Raja Flores, chair of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, who predicted, following Ginsburg’s lobectomy: “As long as she recovers from surgery well, she should be fine. I don’t think people should worry,” Flores said. The biggest risks, he said, will be pneumonia and blood clots. (12) Nevertheless, progressive fact checking websites Inquistor and Snopes both flatly reject reports of Ginsburg suffering from any such conditions. (13)
The anonymous posting website called 8chan – popularized by Q followers – has reported (via a “Lindsey B.” who claims to be at Ginsburg’s hospital) that the justice has contracted pneumonia and is in a medically induced coma. She suggests Ginsburg’s location is somewhere in the Nevada Dessert. But after posting one photo, “Lindsey B.” has gone silent. The image that she posted has since been enhanced, revealing a person with her mouth open, but Ginsburg’s identity cannot be verified due to the poor overall quality of the picture. (14) Of course, there’s no way to authenticate this story, even though it has already traveled far and wide via social media.
Perhaps these reports of the associate justice’s debilitating health issues are nothing more than fake news. But the drama will continue as long as Ginsburg’s extended – and highly unusual – absence from public life continues. Given her office, transparency is in order but seems to be as absent as the associate justice herself.
*Editor’s note: This article was written on February 4, 2019. Importantly, several MSM stories today (February 5) have reported that a few attendees at a musical function in Ginsburg’s honor last night claimed to have seen Ginsburg briefly but, of course, no one got a photo. Given Ginsburg’s absence from the public for weeks, the lack of any cell camera footage from last night’s alleged appearance raises real questions as to whether she was really there.
(3) (this link announcing her cancellation was already taken down by this community center. However, the original text from the Skirball Community Center can be read here: http://www.theamericanmirror.com/wheres-ginsburg-rbg-cancels-public-appearance-as-whereabouts-remains-mystery/)
John Nelson is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy with a degree in Marine Engineering and 10 years of experience in his field. John also is Maritime subject material expert in maritime and other related engineering affairs and is a frequent contributor to the Kenai Peninsula’s “Bird’s Eye View.” John has been engaged in numerous political campaigns, assisting in messaging, activism and consulting.