Senior White House aides and allies are quietly preparing for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's possible departure from the Supreme Court in the near future; setting the stage for a potential brutal confirmation battle should she retire.
The Supreme Court says Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recovery from cancer surgery is "on track" and no further treatment is required. The justices met behind closed doors earlier on Friday to discuss pending petitions and Ginsburg participated by proxy. In fact, then-Chief Justice Rehnquist missed oral arguments in 44 cases, all of the conferences on those cases, and still wrote the majority opinion in four of them. She has survived two other bouts of cancer.
Ginsburg, who will turn 86 in March, is recuperating at her Washington, DC, home. The cancerous growths were discovered while receiving treatment for a November 7 fall in her office.
But should she not return for the February 19 public sessions, there will likely be renewed concern for the liberal justice's future.
"It's an uncomfortable operation", Miller said.
Ginsburg's absence from the bench has left supporters particularly concerned, as she bounced back fairly quickly from previous cancer surgeries in 1999 and 2009.
A year ago, the news broke that Ginsburg hired law clerks for at least two court terms, signaling she intends to stay through 2020.
President Trump has wished Ginsburg a speedy recovery.
Though unconfirmed, speculation intensified further still when a handful of verified conservative Twitter accounts began reporting murmurs that an announcement about Ginsburg's retirement could come as soon as today. She has yet to return to the Supreme Court.
She has become best known for her opinions related to civil rights issues, including the landmark case opening up the Virginia Military Institute to women. A Politico report, citing an unnamed source, states that White House officials are "taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates" to replace Ginsburg and discussing with "key stakeholders" about the nomination process.
The source described the conversations as very preliminary so the White House is not "unprepared" for a grueling hearing.