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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The political world is abuzz with rumors that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may soon resign from the U.S. Supreme Court, potentially sparking the most intense fight yet over President Donald Trump’s third nominee to the nation’s highest court.

The 85-year-old Ginsburg said last summer she intends to remain on the court for “at least five more years,” and has previously declared that she’ll “do this job as long as I can do it full steam.”

Speculation about her future took on renewed fervor this week after she missed oral arguments for the first time in 25 years. Ginsburg was discharged from a New York hospital on Christmas day after having two cancerous growths removed from her left lung. Doctors said they found no “evidence of any remaining disease.”

Dr. Raja Flores of Mount Sinai Medical Center reassured MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday evening that Ginsburg’s absence was “completely routine” for such a taxing surgery, and that “she’ll be back in full form, I’d say within a month.” Nevertheless, Politico reports that the Trump administration is quietly urging conservative groups to prepare for her departure in the near future.

The White House “is taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates, reaching out to key stakeholders, and just making sure that people are informed on the process,” a source told Politico anonymously. “They're doing it very quietly, of course, because the idea is not to be opportunistic, but just to be prepared so we aren't caught flat-footed.”

Though unconfirmed, speculation intensified further still when a handful of verified conservative Twitter accounts began reporting murmurs that an announcement about Ginsburg’s retirement could come as soon as today.

If Ginsburg does retire during Trump’s tenure, it’s expected to set off one of the most intense political battles in recent memory. Ginsburg is a left-wing jurist who has notoriously ruled for abortion and against employers’ conscience rights, as well as for same-sex “marriage” despite calls to recuse herself on the issue because she’s personally officiated several such “weddings.”

Notably, Ginsburg has repeatedly voted to uphold Roe v. Wade despite admitting in 1985 that it was legally dubious and culturally divisive.

Roe, I believe, would have been more acceptable as a judicial decision if it had not gone beyond a ruling on the extreme statute before the court,” she wrote in the North Carolina Law Review. “Heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”

The debate over Trump’s first nominee Neil Gorsuch was bitter, but largely conventional as he was replacing another conservative in the late Antonin Scalia. But Brett Kavanaugh, his nominee to replace liberal swing vote Anthony Kennedy, sparked a much harsher battle up to and including last-minute, uncorroborated claims that Kavanaugh had assaulted several women.

Replacing Ginsburg, a pro-abortion “feminist” icon and the subject of a lionizing, just-released film, is certain to be even more inflammatory. Abortion advocates are already displaying signs of panic, with Politico columnist Roger Simon going so far as to muse about liberals hypothetically donating parts of their own lifespan to extend hers:

Of particular concern for conservatives will be whether the president names a reliable pro-life jurist to replace Ginsburg. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have generally pleased conservatives so far, though it’s unknown how either would vote on Roe and Kavanaugh recently alarmed pro-lifers by voting not to hear Kansas and Louisiana’s case on cutting Planned Parenthood from Medicaid.

The general consensus among pro-life and conservative activists is that Trump’s best choice would be Amy Coney Barrett, a pro-life originalist who has criticized excessive deference to precedent. The president already named Barrett to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017; during her confirmation hearings several Democrats attacked her for, in California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s words, the fact that the Catholic faith “lives loudly in you.” Republicans gained Senate seats in the midterm elections, meaning Trump won't have to worry about winning the votes of pro-abortion Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.