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January 8 2019

A Conservative Woman Explains What She Likes about Justice Ginsburg

by Stephanie Green

I’ve had a girl crush on Ruth Bader Ginsburg for a long time, despite my differences with her judicial philosophy.

Often, when I see her around Washington, I want to spontaneously hug her.

Fortunately, her ever present security detail keeps me from embarrassing myself (and getting arrested).

Ginsburg’s tenacity, life of accomplishment and dedication to her family is something that all women, not just those who agree with her politics, should celebrate, which is why I so enjoyed “On the Basis of Sex,” a new movie starring the sublime Felicity Jones in the lead role as RBG.

The movie was a surprise to me. I was expecting a snowflakey, airbrushed, and clichéd biopic, but instead the film underscores all the reasons I’ve admired the Supreme Court Justice: her trailblazing steps through the halls of the Harvard Law School, her piercing intellect, her love of classical music (listened to while writing briefs), and her conquest over personal loss and setbacks. (Her mother died before her high school graduation, and she’s kicked cancer to the curb with as much ferocity as her courtroom opponents.)

Just last month, Ginsburg, 85, underwent a pulmonary lobectomy, after cancer fights in 1999 and 2009. She missed oral arguments for the first time on January 7, her first absence on such an occasion during her 25 years on the Supreme Court.

But, perhaps, her greatest life lesson, which the film portrays so lovingly, is her marriage to Martin Ginsburg, who died in 2010. They were married for over fifty years and were like twin flames, igniting each other’s best selves.

Ginsburg, played by the eminently hunky Armie Hammer, is diagnosed with testicular cancer while the young couple are in law school. While tending to her husband and toddler daughter at home, Ruth is not only taking her classes but auditing Marty’s, dutifully typing out their notes at night at their kitchen table.

Ruth graduates at the top of her class. She made the law review and Marty didn’t, and he was genuinely happy for her. (Now, that is love. How many male egos would tolerate that?)

But, shortly, it is Ruth’s ego that takes a bruising. She is turned down by all the best Manhattan law firms for being a woman. “The wives get jealous,” it is explained to her.

Meanwhile, Marty’s career as a tax lawyer thrives, and Ruth goes to work as a law professor during the height of the civil rights and women’s movements. Ruth, however, is no radical lefty in sandals and baggy t-shirts. She wears chic trench coats, and ties her ponytail with a silk scarf. (Another reason to love RBG: one time she told me that she got her judicial robes especially made in Paris.)

Marty brings a tax case to Ruth’s attention in which a male caretaker was denied a tax deduction, simply because he was male. Marty and Ruth, in concert with the ACLU, successfully argue that this is sex discrimination, prohibited under the equal protection clause.

This case led to RBG’s long tenure with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and ultimate elevation to the highest court in the land.

Although people of different political stripes will disagree with her opinions, her life is certainly an epic American one.

Thanks to RBG’s life and success we can see how far women have come, and how much we can be proud of.

So, see the movie, and pray for Justice Ginsburg as she recuperates.

If Antonin Scalia could love her, so can we.

 

 



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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