Ruth Bader Ginsberg may be 85-years-old and recovering from an operation to remove two cancerous growths from her lungs, but she is still very much alive. However, that hasn't stopped the White House from starting plans for replacing her, with a number of names already under consideration.
The White House counsel's office is already trading names with the office of the new Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, according to Politico, which has published a list of names under consideration.
The shortlist of potential replacements includes Seventh Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose name was in the mix during the Trump administration's previous Supreme Court nomination before Brett Kavanagh got the nod.
Others identified include Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Joan Larsen and Raymond Kethledge, Britt Grant of the Eleventh Circuit, and Thomas Hardiman of the Third Circuit, who may have a slight edge having served with President Trump's sister, Maryanne Trump Barry.
Should a replacement for Ginsberg be needed, it is thought that Lindsay Graham would play a big role in selecting the new nominee. He is already hard at work shaping the judiciary panel in his new role. But the White House is also beginning the process of reaching out to other stakeholders to ensure they are in a position to move quickly should Ginsberg's time on the bench come to an end.
Ginsberg missed oral arguments on Monday for the first time since her nomination to the country's top court, 25 years ago. She endured a time toward the end of 2018. In November, she fractured ribs in a fall, but showed remarkable powers of recovery for a woman of her age, almost immediately declaring herself "almost repaired" and swiftly getting back to her exercise routine.
But on December 21, she was forced to undergo surgery after doctors discovered two cancerous growths on her neck. She is believed to be recovering well but is not yet fit to return to work on the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump has been unusually magnanimous during her recent health issues. After her fall in November, he said, "I wish her well. She said something very inappropriate during the campaign, but she apologized for it. I wouldn't say she's exactly on my side, but I wish her well, I hope she gets better, and I hope she serves on the Supreme Court for many years."
After her operation in December, he tweeted, "Wishing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a full and speedy recovery!"