The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg Documentary is so welcome and long overdue. Directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen it was one of the highlights of the recent Sundance Film Festival and opens in America in MayIt open in America in May, check out the trail below and keep an eye open for this one….
For most of her two decades at the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, like virtually all her colleagues, was an obscure name to most Americans, able to do her grocery shopping in peace. Despite the fact that lawyers and academics had long dubbed her “the Thurgood Marshall of Women’s Rights,” in person Ginsburg was diminutive, soft-spoken, and reserved—very much a hat-and-gloves product of New York City in the 1950s and ’60s. Ginsburg was so institution-minded and retiring in her first decade at the high court that it was often difficult to reconcile her presence with the monster Supreme Court litigator whose work with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s led to five victories in six appeals, a record that would reshape U.S. gender law forever. Yet, on and off the bench, Ginsburg always looked and sounded like the most dangerous weapon she could possibly be carrying would be a potato kugel.
Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate and hosts the podcast Amicus.
That all started to change about a decade ago, and while it’s hard to carbon-date the shift, some say Ginsburg became a more outspoken and fiery presence at the high court around 2005, when her colleague Sandra Day O’Connor retired, leaving her as the sole female on the bench. She hated being the only woman, she hated being forced to speak for all women, and she saw the court tacking to the right on issues she had worked on for decades. So when her all-male colleagues issued a slew of opinions that seemed to be moving women’s rights backward, Ginsburg began to issue dissents that sounded markedly different from her former mild-mannered, collegial style.
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