Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the Supreme Court bench Tuesday to hear oral arguments for the first time since undergoing cancer surgery in December.
According to Supreme Court reporters, Ginsburg smiled as she arrived with her fellow justices at court, taking her seat unassisted at 10 a.m. ET. According to the court’s official transcript, she asked five questions, including the first, during the hour-long session.
Ginsburg’s public appearance came four days after former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka questioned whether 85-year-old associate justice was still alive, advancing a conspiracy theory that has been circulating in fringe circles since news of her cancer surgery broke.
On Friday, when Ginsburg returned to work at a nonpublic session of the court, Gorka tweeted: “How is there a ‘public’ appearance behind closed doors? Let the Games begin!”
Ginsburg had been absent from the nation’s high court since what her doctors described as successful surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung. She was discharged from the hospital on Dec. 25 and had been working while recovering at home, according to her office.
It was the first time the justice had missed oral arguments since she joined the court in 1993.
In November, Ginsburg fell and fractured three ribs, stirring speculation about her health and worry among Democrats who do not want President Trump to have the opportunity to nominate another Supreme Court justice. That prospect also fueled far-right conspiracy theories that she was actually dead, and that her political allies were covering up her death.
Earlier this month, Ginsburg was spotted in the audience at “Notorious RBG in Song” — a musical production about her life — at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.
Despite multiple witnesses who attested to her being there, conspiracy theorists refused to believe it.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Talks About Her Post-Surgery Condition at Reagan Airport https://t.co/PsZ2neJdYG
— TMZ (@TMZ) February 18, 2019
On Monday, she was seen briskly walking through Reagan National Airport flanked by security and holding on to the arm of an aide in footage published by TMZ.
That her security detail didn’t allow TMZ’s camera to get too close was enough to get RBG “truthers” going.
“Is this actually Ruth Bader Ginsburg or an impostor?” one poster wrote on Twitter. “Strange secret service doesn’t allow camera close enough to see face, posture looks different & wearing heels. Voice sounds different.”
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