Monday, June 25, 2018


Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the title of the book. When asked about what she has in common with the iconic Notorious B.I.G. in the film, RBG, the outspoken chief justice says that the two came from Brooklyn. The answer seems dismissive but probably says a lot. Though the two differ in their styles, they’re both fighters. If you shy away from hagiographies of either rappers or chief justices, you might miss Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s documentary, which would be a mistake. “My father did the cooking,” one of Ginsburg’s children comments, “and mom did the thinking.” What separates the movie from being just another feminist broadside is its wit and charm, both of which can be ascribed to Ginsburg herself. Nowhere is this more apparent then in the clips that detail her relationship with Antonin Scalia, the conservative justice who became her close friend despite their ideological differences. If Ginsburg’s relationship with her husband, the tax lawyer M.D. Ginsburg, testified to a reordering of traditional roles, then her relationship with Scalia with whom she enjoyed the opera amongst other things is a testament to a collegiality and equanimity of spirit that’s all but missing from public life today. The film records Ginsburg’s one serious abrogation of responsibility when as a sitting justice she attacked candidate Trump for being “a faker"—a lapse for which she quickly apologized.  

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