Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is still recovering from her cancer surgery in December, and on Thursday missed her third day of oral arguments at the Supreme Court this year. The court has also refused to give an estimation on when Ginsburg is expected to return.
Doctors say Ginsburg will make a full recovery. Legal experts insist the 85-year-old justice is simply working from home. And she has reportedly hired clerks for the term that extends into 2020, indicating Ginsburg has no plans to leave soon.
Behind the scenes, though, things are much different — and very subtlety, the power players in Washington, D.C. have started to prepare for the next vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Within both conservative legal circles and the White House counsel's office, plans have quietly been put into place in the event that Ginsburg suddenly retires — or her failing health takes another downturn.
Of course, this isn't anything the mainstream media will report on. When asked publicly, Ginsburg and her doctors say they are very confident that she'll return soon.
"I think a lot of people are getting scared because they are concerned about the balance of the court, but I'm confident she's not going anywhere," Raja Flores, the chief of the division of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told CNBC. "She's going to be back on the court."
Privately, however, the situation is being treated much more seriously.
"Gingerly preparations are underway, not just for Ginsburg but for any SCOTUS retirement," a source with ties to the Supreme Court told The Daily Caller.