The day after voters elected Donald Trump as their next president, the Supreme Court got right back to work.
But longtime court artist Arthur Lien, who was in the courtroom last Wednesday, noticed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared to stage a silent protest: She wore the necklace she reserves for reading dissenting opinions out loud.
And perhaps with good reason.
The 83-year-old faced a storm of criticism over the summer after she spoke her mind about the then-presidential candidate in a number of interviews. Trump didn’t go down quietly, and Ginsburg eventually called her comments about him “ill-advised.”
That acknowledgment turned to resignation on Monday, as Ginsburg noted during an appearance at the Jewish Federations of North America that the president-elect now holds direct control over the future of the Supreme Court.
“There is an existing vacancy, and President Trump will fill it,” she said, according to The Washington Post, later adding: “Then, perhaps, Congress will do some work.”
The justice has spoken candidly on more than one occasion about what the open seat means for the high court.
“I do think that cooler heads will prevail, I hope sooner rather than later,” Ginsburg said in September regarding the stalled nomination of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s pick to fill the seat that has been vacant since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.
Garland’s chances likely went up in flames following last week’s election, and Ginsburg’s recognition of Trump as the new nominator-in-chief may mean reality is setting in.
But for someone of her age and stature ― she’s the Supreme Court’s oldest member ― that may also mean she will need to remain healthy and strong in the coming years if she wants the court to retain the four-justice liberal bloc she currently leads.
Trump may very well argue that she’s not up to the task.