Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended a concert put on by her daughter-in-law at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Monday, marking her first public appearance since cancer surgery in December.
Attendees at the Notorious RBG in Song described Ginsburg as “glam,” and “resplendent,” and “magnificent,” but you’ll have to take their word for it.
In an era when every person is carrying a camera and isn’t afraid to use it, there wasn’t a single snap of the 85-year-old to be found. Every media story that covered her alleged appearance used file photos.
“What a delight to see RBG tonight at ‘Notorious RBG in Song,’ written & beautifully performed by her daughter-in-law, Patrice Michaels,” Post contributor David Hagedorn posted to Twitter. “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.”
Hagedorn’s tweet has since disappeared.
The concert was designed to pay tribute to Ginsburg’s legal work through nine songs. It was sponsored by the National Constitution Center, which also livestreamed the concert.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes first public appearance since cancer surgery – The Washington Post https://t.co/p8HJWMXjBU
— Robert Barnes (@scotusreporter) February 5, 2019
Post reporter Robert Barnes set the scene:
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.
Several other reporters and legal insiders claimed to have spotted Ginsburg, who apparently looked spectacular just weeks after undergoing serious lung cancer surgery. Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy on Dec. 21 to remove cancerous nodules in her left lung, a procedure that comes with up to eight weeks of recovery. Ginsburg missed a round of oral arguments in January, though she’s continued to vote on cases and participate in setting the docket from home, the Post reports.
— Nina Totenberg (@NinaTotenberg) February 5, 2019
“Spotted at a concert by her daughter-in-law, the notorious RBG out for the first time after her surgery in December!” NPR reporter Nina Totenberg posted to Twitter. “She looked quite glam @ConstitutionCtr, #Notorious RBG in song”
I believe this was her first public appearance since her surgery.
— Joe Palmore (@palmore_joe) February 5, 2019
“Great concert, and the best part – RBG was there! She looked great,” wrote Joe Palmore, managing partner with Appellate & Supreme Court Practice Group. “I believe this was her first public appearance since her surgery.”
Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the Constitution Center, also hyped Ginsburg’s appearance.
— Jeffrey Rosen (@RosenJeffrey) February 5, 2019
“Thrilled that Justice Ginsburg attended the first concert performance #NotoriousRBG in Song,” he tweeted. “She, Patrice Michaels, and the performance were magnificent!”
Michelle Olsen, an attorney covering SCOTUS for Appellate Daily, posted on Twitter, as well.
— Michelle Olsen (@AppellateDaily) February 5, 2019
“Thanks to @ConstitutionCtr for a lovely evening to honor #RBG. The justice was there. She slipped in and out the back of the room, with no fanfare. #SCOTUS”
Many of the media insiders posting to Twitter about RBG’s attendance re-tweeted each other to amplify their claims.
But folks online aren’t buying it, with more than a few pointing out the obvious: Why no pictures?
“Well until I see her in a new video or sitting on the SCOTUS hearing cases, I won’t believe the likes of the Washington Post!” Edwin Motes posted.
This story very sketchy. She hid in the back…at an event honoring her?? It would have been easy enough to have formally recognized her presence, and still protect her delicate condition.
— lrw (@lrw6) February 5, 2019
“This story is very sketchy. She hid in the back … at an event honoring her?? It would have been easy enough to have formally recognized her presence, and still protect her silicate condition,” Irw wrote.
Proof of life. Any photos?
— Harry Wok (@Harry_Wok) February 5, 2019
“Proof of life,” Harry Wok added. “Any photos?”
Pics or it didn’t happen
— TheoryCraft (@Taobender) February 5, 2019
“Pics or it didn’t happen,” TheoryCraft wrote.
How is it a public appearance if nobody saw her?
— Learning to Code (@realtruthkings) February 5, 2019
“How is it a public appearance if nobody saw her?” Learning to Code posted.
RBG’s unverifiable appearance is driving some to call on the justice to attend President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, though the Post suggests it’s unlikely as she skipped the president’s previous speeches.