Think of the courage needed to argue for gender equality laws before they existed, to an all-male Supreme Court no less.
Now, imagine doing that five more times and winning five out of six of those cases, forever changing the landscape of law in the United States.
The YWCA of Southeastern Mass, Women’s Fund, and the Center of Gender, Women, and Sexuality’s screening of the new film RBG shows how those were just a few of the amazing things Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has done throughout her illustrious career.
Beginning with her days at Harvard Law School, where she was one-of-nine women graduates among 500 men, the film conveys how she’s always had to fight for equal representation not just for herself but for women as a whole.
As the film cascades through her role in the early 70s as an attorney arguing for various women’s rights, it’s astonishing how integral she was to the laws we take for granted nowadays, including basic amenities like job security for pregnant women.
“She is a remarkable woman,” Mitch Berube, administrative assistant for the Center of Gender, Women, and Sexuality said, “she’s one of few women on the Supreme Court and she has become the dissenter on this court, and because she’s the dissenter on many opinions, her opinions matter.”
Berube points to a scene in the film highlighting how many people created fan clubs specifically for Ginsburg’s dissenting opinions, a rare adoration few in the legal world receive.
Books, mugs, posters, and more have been decorated with her inquisitive face, and as more millennials realize her impact on the nation they have even bestowed her with nicknames, the best by far being The Notorious RBG.
“I know of the rapper that my nickname was based on,” Ginsburg grins, “And it makes sense…We have a lot in common.”
Despite several one-liners, Ginsburg admits in the film that she tends to leave the jokes to her husband. Instead, her extremely honest approach to law made her a lot of friends over the course of her career, including some of the most conservative politicians and judges in congress.
During her 1993 confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, for example, Ginsburg refused to sugarcoat her answers like many Supreme Court justices do nowadays to increase their chances of being elected.
Sitting before the hardline conservative senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ginsburg proclaimed that she would not compromise on her unwavering support towards the women’s right to an abortion as well as women’s rights.
The film then cuts to the senator in an interview, declaring “I love Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
Her role as a Supreme Court justice should not be overlooked either.
In her first case on women’s rights as a member of the Supreme Court, Ginsburg fought and succeeded in making the case that gender-exclusive admissions policy of a highly regarded military school violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Since then, she has continued to be a leading force in the Supreme Court with her dissents that Berube characterizes as “concise and straight to the point.”
Two adjectives that came to Berube’s mind while speaking about the Notorious RBG were “unique” and “unapologetic” due to her forceful nature and championing role as a fighter for gender equality.
In a political landscape as fractured as it is now, it’s great that the Center for Gender, Women, and Sexuality screened a documentary showcasing a true national treasure.
RBG isn’t the only event they have in the coming weeks either.
Their next event, on October 4 in the auditorium, is their seventh Annual Drag Show and the first to feature professionals.
PHOTO COURTESY: HEMALYA.COM