One of the most significant executive powers granted to the president of the United States is the appointment of Supreme Court justices, a decision that Congress had never before refused to consider — until this year.
Justice Antonin Scalia's sudden death opened up a critical spot on the bench, one that had the power to decisively tilt the court left or right. Despite President Obama having picked Merrick Garland, a centrist appellate judge whose work has been lauded by both Democrats and Republicans alike, GOP lawmakers made the unprecedented decision to reject Garland's nomination before even meeting with him.
Now that Donald Trump is president-elect, it seems that the GOP's strategy of waiting out in the hopes of an actual conservative justice's appointment worked.
And Trump may even be in a position to appoint two more justices in the Supreme Court. There is concern about the court's older liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, 78, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 83.
There have been calls for Ginsburg, in particular, to retire. But the notorious pop culture icon, a fierce, impassioned dissenter on the bench, dismissed those calls; in an interview with NPR, Ginsburg said, simply, "I will retire when it's time."
And on Wednesday, as the country awoke to news of Donald Trump's election victory, Ginsburg appeared on the beach donning her "dissent collar" in what some have interpreted as a subtle-yet-powerful stand against the president-elect.
Ginsburg is known to wear the jabot when she is dissenting against the court's decision. There were none announced on Wednesday.
Appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg quickly emerged as a powerful champion of women's rights. It was her scathing 35-page dissent of the court's decision to side with Hobby Lobby over its argument that family-owned and "closely held" corporations had the right to refuse contraceptive coverage to women based on religious grounds that earned her the moniker "Notorious RBG."
Ginsburg has clashed with Trump in the past. During the election, she told the New York Times that she "can't imagine" what the country would be like with Trump as president. The then-GOP nominee hit back on Twitter: "Her mind is shot — resign!"
Ginsburg later apologized for her remarks on Trump, calling them "ill-advised" — but there's nothing a pointed piece of neckwear can't relay.