Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s prolonged absence from the Supreme Court bench spurred theories that she might no longer be among the living. But the progressive icon is very much alive, according to the filmmakers of the Oscar-nominated movie “RBG.” The directors told CNN they talked to the judge recently to tell her that the documentary was headed to the Academy Awards.
Betsy West and Julie Cohen said that Ginsburg was in “good spirits.” “We reached her on the phone at her home in Washington this morning,” they reported on Jan. 22. “She congratulated us and said the nomination was ’eminently well-deserved.’ She sounded strong and cheerful and said she is writing opinions and continuing to stay on top of work.”
Theory on RBG’s death spreads
Ginsburg has been working from home while recovering from lung surgery in December to remove cancerous growths. The Supreme Court announced that she was clear of any traces of cancer after the procedure.
Still, Ginsburg’s lingering absence — her first in 25 years on the court — has caused concern among liberals and fueled some theories on the fringes of the right that she is hiding a disease or might even be deceased. Right-wing figures and Twitter personalities including former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, ‘Q’ of the QAnon conspiracy, Twitter provocateur Jacob Wohl, and Hollywood conservative James Woods have shared the theory.
“What ‘off-market’ drugs are being provided to [RBG] in order to sustain minimum daily function?” Q wrote. “What is the real medical diagnosis of [RBG]? Who is managing her care?
Other Twitter users demanded proof that Ginsburg is alive with the hashtag ‘#WheresRuth?’ and pointed to the State of the Union Address on February 5 as the moment of truth when her condition will be made clear. Some have claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delayed the address to cover up problems with Ginsburg’s health.
“Seriously though… #WheresRuth?” Woods tweeted.
“Still no sign,” Gorka wrote. “6 days left until Ruth Bader Ginsberg has to make her official appearance at @realDonaldTrump’s State of the Union.”
However, SCOTUS judges aren’t required to attend the SOTU speech.
Fox News unintentionally fueled the theory when it broadcast an image of Ginsburg which misleadingly indicated that she was dead.
Ginsburg has been lying low while in recovery and canceled several public appearances, leading some to wonder about her health status.
However, it’s not that surprising that the 85-year-old justice has been out of sight for the past month. She underwent surgery on Dec. 21, and several cancer doctors familiar with the procedure told CNBC that she likely would spend up to six weeks in recovery. The court has not set a date for her return.