Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reportedly made her first public appearance in more than a month on Monday when she attended a special concert given in her honor.
Oddly, however, the justice didn’t make it into a single photo or video clip from the event — and some people who believe the justice might be dead aren’t satisfied.
Ginsburg hasn’t been seen in public since undergoing emergency pulmonary surgery in late December to remove cancerous growths in her lung. In the meantime, the 85-year-old justice has been working from home, reviewing briefs and oral argument transcripts and casting her vote in absentia, during her recovery, according to the Court.
Spotted at concert
The concert, a tribute to Ginsburg’s career, took place Monday night at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Titled “Notorious RBG in Song,” it was put on by Ginsburg’s daughter-in-law, soprano Patrice Michaels.
Michaels is married to Ginsburg’s son, James, who gave the audience a health update on his mother. She meets with her trainer twice a week and walks a mile each day, he said.
Apparently, Ginsburg’s presence was not announced. Reporter Robert Barnes wrote for the Washington Post: “Ginsburg did not speak, and many in the crowd did not know she was there. She sat in the back, and most saw her only as they left the performance. Michaels did not announce her presence.”
Washington Post contributor David Hagedorn was the first to share the news of Ginsburg’s attendance at the concert, tweeting, “What a delight to see RBG tonight at ‘Notorious RBG in Song,’ written & beautifully performed by her daughter-in-law, Patrice Michaels. She sat in the back, a few rows behind us, looking resplendent. Being hugged & wished a happy birthday by her made a grand night spectacular.”
Several other media figures also chimed in, sharing Hagedorn’s tweet or tweeting their own accounts of seeing her at the event.
However, Hagedorn’s tweet has since disappeared, and his Twitter account has been locked and hidden from the general public.
For some conspiracy theorists, a written account from a mainstream media reporter wasn’t enough “proof of life.” A common theme among the doubters of Ginsburg’s alleged appearance was “pics or it didn’t happen.”
Others, including former Trump staffer Sebastian Gorka, thought that her attendance at the SOTU address might be her first official public appearance — but that was an unlikely scenario, regardless of Ginsburg’s health status: she did not plan to attend and did not attend last year’s speech either.
Why so much interest in Ginsburg’s whereabouts? It’s political, of course. At 85, the justice could be forced to retire for health reasons at any time — and both parties care immensely about who is named as her successor on the bench. If she leaves while Trump is still in office, he will be able to nominate a third conservative justice, shifting the SCOTUS to the right for generations to come.