Audioburst Search

SMNTY Classics: Why the Notorious RBG is a BFD

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Today's episode of stuff. I'm never told. You is brought to you by the okay, keep it dating app. The okay. Keep it app. Lets you answer a ton of fun questions that let you be seen by the people who are going to be into you. I have so many friends that have told me that they get the best matches from the okay cupid dating app. Say what you're into me someone who's into what you're into an void the moment, you wished you stayed at home instead of being on a bad date. Find your great date on the okay cupid app. Download the free app today. A this is Anne, and you're listening to step on never told to you. Supreme court Justice Ruth, Bader Ginsburg has been in the news a hot in the past few weeks. Whether it's her health, Fox News falsely reporting her death or the multiple movies based on her life in theaters right now, one of which are BG is nominated for best documentary feature and she also has a cameo in the upcoming LEGO movie to a while back Bridget night interviewed. Erin Carmen, co author of notorious our BG the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg when this documentary was about to be released, and we thought we would replay this episode for your enjoyment. So happy listening. Hey, this is Bridget. And this is Anne, and you're listening, the stuff mom never told you. On may four RV g a new documentary about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pit theaters. And today, we're going to talk about the notorious our BG as she is sometimes known and the social media frenzy surrounding her, and I I'm part of that social media frenzy big fan. I can tell by that you're aware. Yes. Any wind. She is doing an episode about something specific she will dress justify she's Russia's the part. But only I get to enjoy. I know, but you can imagine episode about action figures, we talk heavily about the evanger 's and you warrior special event, sir. And now, I'm wearing my RV suits, always always a good day when I get to wear it. And we'll we'll do a very brief background here. Because we Kristen and Caroline did do a pretty indepth episode on RV Chiba just to just to set the scene a little bit, right? Bridges to set the scene. Exactly. So Ruth, Bader Ginsburg wasn't always the notorious RV that we know in love. She was born on March fifteenth nineteen thirty-three a Pisces like myself. Probably super creative and very flaky and play. She's a injustice. I'm not gonna put that on her. That's on me. He was born Joan Ruth baiter in Brooklyn New York fund back to the family nickname of KiKi because she was a kicki baby. So that was her nickname. When she started school her mom discovered that her class had several little girls named Joan. And so she should go by Ruth instead to avoid confusion, and she put up with six this crap a lot during the early days of her career. She was docked for being pregnant from mental floss as newlyweds Ginsburg in her husband Marty relocated to fort sill, Oklahoma where Marty was expected to fulfil his army reserve duties for the next two years Ruth took the civil service exam and qualified to be a claims adjuster. But then made the mistake of mentioning that she was three months pregnant with her daughter. Jane, suddenly RV civil service ranking was reduced and with it her title and pay that's terrible. But also even in looking at her biography a little bit you can sort of see where all of these. Sort of stings of sexism, not only were they harmful for her career. But it's almost like she was like, okay. Well, can I remember this or later today? And she seems like she really they released lit a feminist fire in her and a kind of way. Yeah. Motivators for share? Exactly, exactly. Honestly, the dean of her law. School sounds like kind of a jerk in nineteen fifty-six Ginsburg was one of only nine female students matriculating into Harvard law. Now her dean, it's been reported Aaron Griswold hosted a dinner for the women and at the end of the meal, he went through the women one by one and said, how do you justify taking his spot away? I'm a qualified man. Oh, oh, yeah. That's pretty bad later. It was reported that he was joking. And it was it was all in good fun. But okay, part of me is like, oh, I'm sure we'll sharing the backlash happened. It's a joke. But also feel like it's talking about people who had just become a loss. Students the dean of your law school, even if he thought this was funny prank, or like all this is really going to get goats. That would be really the moral demoralizing would if that happened to me as a young student that would stick with me for life. I guess so handsome either. Even if he thought this joke where it was all in good fun because of the power and balances there, I can imagine that that was not in good fun for the women who are participated in that dinner. Yeah. And it would kind of overshadow because in your head. You're probably thinking how am I gonna what jobs am I going to get? And then you hear this joke, and you're thinking, oh, well, maybe I have gotten I've I've succeeded in this one step, but I have all these other hurdles now of finding a job when I'm competing with men, and they're probably just going to go with men a lot of the time. Exactly. That's really exactly fell. Yeah. Not a good feeling. It's not a good feeling. And Furthermore, even though she graduated at the top of her class. She found that very few law firms with open their doors to win despite. Being know really talented and having glowing recommendations from our professors Ginsburg is actually only able to get her foot in the door with a lower ranking district court judge Edmund Palmeri and this was only after one of her mentors threatened to stop sending other clerks his way if he turned her down. And so again, she was someone who was super talented yet. She had to go through all of these means just to get her foot in the door. Despite the fact that they should have been knocking down her or higher. Right. But when she Fanta groove seat really really found it. She was notable for really understanding that the way that you create social change is a long game. Right. You're she was playing chess not checkers and her work focused on winnable achievable fights and chipping away at gender inequality that way, and so it was thinking about things like, okay. How can I win this small thing? That's going to have incremental change down the line, which I think is so savvy and so smart. Yeah. She's like slowly moving as for in ways that she she felt she could succeed in one thousand nine hundred ninety two Ginsburg co founded the women's rights projects at the American Civil Liberties union, the ACLU and in nineteen Seventy-three three she became the ACLU's general counsel, the women's rights project and related ACLU projects participated in over three hundred gender discrimination cases by nineteen seventy four as director of the ACLU's women's rights. She argued six gender discrimination cases before the supreme court between nineteen seventy three and nineteen Seventy-six winning five rather than asking the court to end all gender discrimination at once Ginsburg, charted a strategic cores taking aim at specific discriminatory statutes and building on each successive victory. She chose plaintiffs carefully at times picking male plaintiffs to demonstrate that gender. Discrimination was harmful to both men and women the laws Ginsburg targeted included, those that on the surface appeared beneficial to women, but in fact, reinforce the notion that women needed to be dependent on men. I think that's so smart because let's face it. If people feel like, you know, oh, this is something women are asking for something special this focusing on, you know, men, I think is so smart because people will look at that. And think oh, this isn't just women wanting quote, something special, right? It's it this is about a quality. And this seems to permeate. Through her career. I did that when dealing with cases like this. She decided to use the word gender and not sex because she thought the word sex would distract or sort of confuse people until you can really get a sense of how smart she was that sort of packaging and marketing and being strategic about these cases. Yeah. Just knowing how to sell it. How to get it get the support behind it? And how to get it passed or how to win these arguments very impressive. And eventually it led to her nomination to the supreme court of the United States President Bill Clinton nominated her as an associate Justice of the supreme court on June fourteenth, nineteen Ninety-three to fill the seat vacated. By retiring Justice, Byron white Ginsburg was recommended to Clinton by then US Attorney General Janet Reno after a suggestion by Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch at the time of her nomination Ginsburg was viewed as a moderate, which might surprise some of you. Clinton was reportedly looking to increase the courts diversity which Ginsburg did as the first Jewish Justice since the nineteen sixty-nine resignation of Justice, Abe Fortas and as only the second female appointee. Wow. That's I mean awesome. But also, I know it's always when you hear those first and you're like Yay. But also, really, yes. That's generally, my reaction to. So any what are some of your favorite things about RPG? Oh, I love that picture of her nodding off during the state of the union adjust. And according to her it was because she'd had a little too much y before I can identify. And also when she was going undergoing treatments for colon cancer in nineteen ninety nine and pancreatic cancer in two thousand nine she didn't miss one oral argument, and her workout is intense to this day in tents, and as someone who works out a lot. I she's a role model in that way. And recently, Stephen Colbert, he he did the workout with her, and it was hilarious. And of course, he could not keep up as who could. I know. Right. I love that about her. What about you? Do you have a favorite my favorite thing about her? This is a bit strange. Is that even though she's this amazing figure this icon? You can just tell that. She is deep down a grandma, right? Like she comes off. She just gives me such grandma vibes. Our guest Arind. We'll be talking to that later in today's episode. There's this great MSNBC exclusive interview that Arain did with Rb. And in this interview Arain shows her on her phone a picture of people who've gotten Rb inspired tattoos, and Rb reaction is such a great grandmother reaction. Here's what she says. I saw that. And I thought it was I thought it was a joke thought it was something you pasted onto your, but I live to stress that people really doing that distressed why? Because. Why would you make something that can't be removed on yourself? Classic grandma. So I just love it. You know, even though she is this amazing amazing bad ass. You know supreme court Justice this. She also you can just tell that. She's a grandma, and I I love that. I love that. She, you know, just seem so normal despite being so important and influential. So that's what I love the most about her. I think yeah, she's very relatable and will actually here from the Washington Post Arain Carmen in just a second Arain actually wrote the book on our BG literally we'll hear from her after this quick break. Today's episode of Steph. I'm never told you is brought to you by smart water listeners. I drink a lot of water a lot a lot a lot so much. So that one of my nicknames used to be goldfish here in the office. There's nothing I love more than some cold water after exercise, and I love smart water, not only for the taste, but for the uniquely designed bottle if you are looking to stay hydrated, keep your mind refreshed and ready to tackle today. Reach for a bottle of smart water. And we're back today or joined by Irvine Carmen, a brief bio and her she's a journalist, author speaker. She is a contributing writer to the Washington Post outlook section and the co author of notorious R B G the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which spent three months on the times best seller list. And I believe you worked with her. I did we worked together at MSNBC. She's actually she's one of the reasons why I wanted to work there at the time. She was one of the figures who was doing the most like fearless feminist journalism out there, and it was a big reader reverend's work before I ever worked at MSNBC. And when I first got to work with her. I was like oh my God. It's the rim. Basically, basically, but I just never cool. But that's why I'm so happy that she's joining us today. So first question for you is probably one that you get kind of a lot. So I know that the concept of this book was popularized by Shana kin is next tumbler account in support of Ginsburg's dissent of the Shelby county v holder decision which struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act. But how did this book come to be like is it is it typical for a book to be based on a tumbler account is that unusual? Well, I think it's it's not typical for it to be a book that anybody wants to read to be honest it so Shawna never really was trying to create some kind of social phenomenon. She was just upset that the supreme court has struck down this really important voting rights protection that would have the impact of disenfranchising people color. And so when she wanted to celebrate Justice Ginsburg spent she just decided to take to the internet and make a play on words on the walls. And this that eighty year old Jewish tiny little lady with a very very powerful voice. But you don't obviously it struck a chord at our editor at HarperCollins. Julia chase. It is a real visionary. And she looked at all of these spontaneous celebrations. Not just shawna's also, our friend Amina. So you know, she did a mean this is also featured in the upcoming documentary. You can't spell truth without Roussel's o'clock. She plastic sheeting Frank. She plastered posters all around DC with it there. There was something happening and Julia recognized it and said that there needed to be a new kind of biography that would capture the spirit of the tumbler, which was in fact, really substantive. I mean, again, it really started because of rights descent, but also have his kind of playful these days spirit, you know, juxtaposed this serious high court judge with a gangsta rapper. But as just as good, I like Justice Ginsburg likes to say, they're both from Brooklyn. So Julia Julia came up with the idea for the book went to Sean, Sean was as she's a baby at that point. She was in her third year lost. I believe had just begun. She started the tumbler second year, implausible and Shana just said sure, but I you know, I wanna write with somebody because I don't know how to write a book and so through the great Anna holds my former boss at jazz about who was first approached about this project. I ended up teaming up with Sean and Julia and at a breakneck pace writing the book together conceptualizing the book, I did the words Shana was in charge of the images, we came up with all the ideas together, we both did interviews on affect checked it, and it was a labor of love that we juggles with at that point. You know, I used to work together at MSNBC I had a fulltime job at MSNBC Shana was in law school, it was sort of a crazy pace. But what we realized is that no matter how many hours we were. Working nothing could compare to Justice Ginsburg own stamina, she can get by on two hours of sleep a night, and you see her high quality outside. So that was a real inspiration. Wow. So what's it like does that of curiosity? What's it like to write a book than other person? I have to say that I really enjoyed the collaborative process of working in pairs. You know, ultimately, the actual wars of the book I wrote by myself in a room, but that was only one part of it from the beginning. You know, we sat down and figured out like what's each chapter. We had really really strict deadlines because the book had to come about in a breakneck pace by book standards. Think let's see it was about six months to the entire book was due. So we sat down, Shannon. I in my living room, and we figured out. You know, how do we organize this? What parts of her life are in it? What aren't what is the book? Look like, what does it feel like, you know, when you ask? What what is turning tumbler into a book? We thought about how we wanted to feel like more than just kind of like, a medium that somebody printed out and put between the covers the book, you know? And that's what I mean. When I say did anybody turn a block into a book that people wanted to read? Well, it's it's taking the spirit of it. But it's also thinking this is a story that people are going to wanna read this is a beautiful object that people are going to wanna hold. This is going to have visual components and charts and annotated to sense, you know, with handwritten in the margin by Justice Ginsburg, former clerks so all along, you know, the story was a really important part of it and the reporting we did, you know, we interviewed her clerks and her children and people she worked with and so on that was a big part of it. But it was also about the entire experience of having of different entry points into her story. And so for some people that would be sitting down and reading the words of the books from beginning to end and for other. People. It might be like, wow, she was such a babe when she was young, and we have photos sets to and for some people, it might be I would never read a legal brief. But now, the key portions of it are excerpted in the book, and some of the most brilliant legal minds like genetic L from illegal defense than the end end to believe C P legal defense fund, who's actually arguing these voting rights cases writing in the margins on Justice Ginsburg, Shelby county descent and explaining it to you and her voice, and in a kind of conversational way, like your friend would break it down for you. So all of those different entry points. We thought were going to be the way that the reader's going to experience of the story of her life in a way that they might not in any other books. Yeah. That's something that I love about the book so much that I'm not someone who would may be read illegal brief. But I have this book on my coffee table and people who come to my apartment, you know. They're like, ooh RV g you know. It's there's so many different entry points. No matter what your what your connection. And to Rb is so out of curiosity. So what is your like what personally draws you to Ginsburg? What is it about her as a figure that you feel? Drawn to. Well, the one of the essential mysteries of the book. Was that that the books talked to solve how did she become an Tori, our BG because when you read about her when she was first confirmed to the supreme court. Everybody says that she is moderate consensus seeker she shine. She's reserved, but that's not really the whole story because before she ever was judge. She was the coup Pounder of the ACLU women's rights project and one of the most important if not the most important litigators fighting on behalf of constitutionally quality for women. And so in order to do that she wasn't the joke. Go along get along kind of person, she wasn't so sort of a, you know, handmaiden the status quo in fact that she was going in front of these all male courts and arguing that women were people which at the time. No. Bring court had ever recognized that was pretty bad ical. But but there's a paradox in that her style was not so radical, and what we understood in writing the book is that the way that she became that person is by suffering enormous adversity in her life. She lost her sister. And her mother very young while she was in law school. She was she was married in a young mother. And while juggling all of that. Her husband became preg- keeps me her husband became ill with cancer. She was victim pregnancy. Discrimination twice over. She was repeatedly passed over for jobs, despite being incredibly brilliant, and what she took from all of this was kind of steely determination, but it was also very self contained. I mean, she was not the person was her fist up in the air. She was the person writing the radical brief and somehow convey. The world that she was being conciliatory and consensus-seeking. And so for me, what was really fascinating was how did she become this person? And what's what's incredible? Is that I mean history also fourth typic- come the person that she hadn't been to before which is a fire starter. You know, the person who is going head to head with Donald Trump, and who was writing fierce descents and who's out on the road being in public in a way that very few supreme court justices have ever been that person has been created by this historical moment, we're in where the court has lurched to the right where obviously the presidency is what it is. And she the person for this historical moment, whether anyone could have predicted it or not she's the person who has the kind of stamina and steely determination to see it through to the end. Yeah. Kind of going off of that. When Arbi was first appointed to the supreme court Clinton thought she was a moderate. But we think of. Her today as this bad ass progressive. What do you make of this paradox? Well, I think part of it is she has genuinely become more comfortable using her voice in a fiercer way. And I think she there are some issues. In fact, it which I think she has moved to the last, but can even though that's not what legal scholars with life to perceive it as for example. I think there were some early decisions. I mean, she's always been fiercely approach Hornets, she has always fought for racial Justice and to uphold legal remedies to try to rate historic racial inequality. But you know, there were for example, there were some criminal Justice decisions that might be considered more moderate that she joined in the past. But in the past couple of years, there's been a dissenting block that it's just her and just as soda my your oftentimes, she's joining she's the only Justice joining Justice sort of my yours opinions in various cases that have to do with worth amendment rights and other issues that see and the death penalty it it does seem like. To some extent, her views have changed. But what's also chances that she's become more comfortable being public voice? You know, just as Ginsburg. I think never saw herself as being in spending her life in the minority. You know, only recently did she have her first chance since she joined the supreme court to assign a majority opinion meeting that she was the most senior Justice in the majority. She has always been the senior Justice in the minority the five four math that happens on some of these controversial decisions. And so history has made her into a great defender, and she's embraced with gusto. Nobody can descend like arby's. I love a good blend. Man woman can. Collar. A good question. Is it is it true that she? So she's known for her collars. Is it true that she wears them? Specifically when she is going to descend. She does indeed have a special dissenting collar which interestingly is made by banana Republic. She got it in a gift bag when she was glamour woman of the year. And now, you know, she wears it every time she descends, the wool betide you. I mean, I I got a chance when I checked the book to show her a court sketch because as you know, there no cameras allowed in the fort room. And so I showed her sketch that we were going to use in the book. And I said, I just need to verify that this is descending collar and this little scruple. And she said, yes. She wears it. When she's going to go argue with the dry cleaner. She's on my special. Well, you know, fun fact last September she officiated at my wedding. And she and everybody asked you know, what is she going to wear and my husband kept saying, well, she doesn't wear her dissension color. Oh, it's amazing. That's amazing. I hope she wore her agree collar like, yes, I'm okay? But this union. She did wear her judicial robes, and I think, you know, some of the listen some of those she just wears for arguments off to be out in a bad. I don't know if she has a special wedding color or not I think she told me that the column that she had with central by a fan. So she knows where fan crafts if anyone out. There has a descent caller that they're trying to make for her or or sorry agree. Caller, who I see crafty eve is over here. Go right podcast over. New project. I gotta hit up those named needle. It's a little bit it. So you mentioned that means he fishy your wedding, which I saw Instagram and couldn't believe it. What was that like guesses invert loves, weddings? I mean, obviously, she does not have time to officiate every single wedding that she's out for it was great honor that she came to Brooklyn place of her childhood too fishy at our wedding and September. She, you know, she was funny and gracious, and amazing, and she stayed for dinner and the toast during the toast. My brother said that in lieu of toasting us. He was just going to read the entire VM Justice Ginsburg to Senate Shelby county, and she burst out laughing. And so that was definitely a highlight. Oh, I love it. I love it. I mean, one of the reasons that it was so special. I mean, she had met my husband for in. The course of writing it's great support to me throughout the insane process of writing book, but she had the kind of marriage that any any person looking to partnership, which remove having her husband was a successful lawyer his own right, but energetically defended her fought for her advocated from her supported her through difficult times in her life. I mean, they supported each other. But unfortunately, we really don't have so many models of marriage that are true partnership where people take turns supporting each other. And so, you know, one of the things that we told her when we asked about it was that we really sought to emulate the kind of partnership that they have. Beautiful. Yeah. I mean, that's something that I loved about her is that, you know, I think it's when we talk about public figures who are women oftentimes, it's like, ooh, what's their marriage. Like are they married, but I think that because her marriage really was this egalitarian model for how you can be a feminist, and how you can be this bad ass professional woman, but also have your marriage kind of exist as a way to sustain that work. And not something that gets in the way in there where I think is is really unusual and something we don't often see that. We should definitely be celebrating. It. Yeah. I mean, I think you know, traditional injustices are not so open about their lives. But I do think that there's a service one of the reviewers of our book said this, and I've been thinking about it a lot. She was talking about the justices willingness to things Lynch will all during the Newark public writing about the justices willingness to allow herself to be photographed and to talk about Alice for personal life and not really kind of men she she is very private. But compared to how other supreme court justices been in the public eye. She's open and generous and talking about the challenges that she's faced and also how she's made it work and given that we have so few women and visions of power. Let alone women women in positions of power who were committed to feminist and anti racist ideas. I think it's really important to figure out like how what about life looks like, you know, what is how do you? How do you make it work? How do you have a happy life? You know, and how she how to how. Life has been died in two thousand ten but they were together for nearly sixty years and had a remarkable if not perfect I mean, no, nothing's perfect partnership, and you know, the documentary RPG that's coming out have really exceptional and never before seen footage of Rb G and her husband Marty interacting where you just see what a love affair was. I mean, it was a great intellectual and personal and a meal partnership. But you know, we're just in love with each other. It's just incredible to see it and to know that she could both contribute so much to the cause of equality and to the law and also be human being I think that that does service for people trying to understand like how do you be in the world. Totally. So I'm coming off that point. I know that relationships and friendships are very very important to RPG. She's written quite a bit about her friendship with Sandra Day O'Connor. You know, both these awesome women who were on the supreme court. But something that comes up a lot of people talk about her for sort of strange bedfellow friendships with people that you might not think that she would be super close with people like that like anthems clear, right? Do you? Do you see that as something? That is. I mean, I always wonder like are they really friends they is just one of those things where it's like, oh, we get on super well like have no problems. But really, they not, you know, are these relationships that a key part of what makes her? Yes. I mean, I think in particular her friendship with Scalia, and you know, with Sandra Day O'Connor was somebody who she didn't always agree with the close appointed. By Ronald Reagan, as well their friendships across different views of the world. I think for her really important showing that that human beings can talk to each other and work together productively despite all their differences. And I think she's really committed to plink quirks functioning as it should she talks a lot about collegiality. I mean, these these are very quaint notions in Washington DC of Trump, or even, you know, the Washington DC of Mitch McConnell. She told me when I interviewed her in two thousand fifteen Justice Ginsburg said know, maybe someday, we'll have a congress that works again. And you know, it's not it's not just it says, it's about friendship, although her. Friendship with Justice Scalia was real. I mean, they spent New Year's together, and they would go to the opera together. And she liked that he made her laugh. I mean, she's a great sense of humor people think that she's very serious. But in fact, she's the devil sense of humor. And he was very witty. But beyond that, it was also without strengthening the work of the cord Sandra Day O'Connor frequently cross the aisle, and she's women's rights. She helped save Roe v. Wade in nineteen ninety two and Planned Parenthood versus Casey and Scalia. Also, even though a lot of the time. They just agreed. They would join together on fourth amendment decisions. And even when he was descending like he did in US versus Virginia, which was one of her most important majority cases were she she sensually why into law some of the work that she had been doing of litigator saying that the Virginia Military institute could not bar women from entry. Even when Justice Scalia dissented in that case, she felt like he made made her work stronger because you gave her a copy of his descend on Friday and she said he destroyed by weekend. But he made my opinion so much better. Thinking about the spirit of debate and truly engaging with each other and not an ad hominem way has always been something very important to her. But cyclic break. This podcast is brought to you by Showtime and the acclaimed comedy series Smith. Bridget bird is a twentysomething single mom from south Boston doing her best to juggle life work and relationships all staying shooter self and creating a better life for her son. Larry starring Frankie Shaw, Rosie O'Donnell and Connie Britton. Don't miss the return of Smith, New episodes. Start streaming January twentieth. Only on Showtime. And we're back. Yeah. You touched on two of her kind of big cases decisions that we ask about. So we were wondering what are some of the decisions in cases that you think define RPG professionally. When did she did judge or a lawyer either all of the above? Well, you know, one of her one of her favorite kids is this. She did as a lawyer was Stephen wise in films. It's a case that she started and took all the way to the supreme court believe in nineteen seventy six this was a kiss of a widowed. Father who was not given the same kind of parental benefits because he was a widower and his wife had died in childbirth was the woman the way that the tax code was construed. They're really only were these kinds of benefits available to women for mail wage earners to she got each of the members of the supreme court enough for a majority to agree that this violated his rights as a man as a father to equal protection. It violated the dead woman's rights because her work was being treated as. Lesser than that of a man. And it also violated the rights of the child who wasn't getting the same access to care giver benefits. Just because of the caregiver who was taking care of him was a man the counter intuitively, you know, a lot of people at the time that why bringing all of these cases on behalf of men, it's the women's rights project, not the men's rights project. But her long game was that if you drew attention to ways in which gender constricted everybody and also in limited, the rights of men more people would understand that what was at stake. You know was much bigger than whether women could do just what men could do it was about rebuilding a society in which everybody could participate equally. Yeah. You touched on something that I love about her career RPG really kind of focused on the long game. Right. So she thought about what are some achievable winnable wave that I can ship. Away at gender imbalance in. She often. This is strategically very interesting. She often shows cases that involved men. And so, you know, the case you just described where it's a it's clearly a gender imbalance. But you it's not one of people wouldn't look at it and say, oh, it's the women wanting something special, right? That's not how someone would look at it. And I think it's really this really shows a lot of Fa'avae, right? Where a lot of people will be playing checkers, and she's playing chess where she's thinking about it in a long term way in a way that I think is often difficult like if you're someone who wants to make progressive, change or social change. It's difficult to think of it as this will have a lasting impact down the line because you want something that's going to be like, I can see the results. Now. This is going to happen, you know, right away quickly. And she really this. I don't know. I just really appreciate her strategic acumen. When it comes to the cases that she took on the ways that she went about them. She was your student because when she Dan in the early nineteen seventy no supreme court decision had ever said that discriminating against women was unconstitutional because all of the ways that the lottery did men and women differently were construed as favors to women. So exempting women from jury service treating them differently in the legal or political context fewer benefits. And so on referring men over women in administrative cases, all of that was being as women being put on a pedestal. It was seen as doing women of favor making women take mandatory unpaid maternity leave when they became pregnant. Basically, forcing them off the job all of that was saying we're doing you a favor go back to the home, and you'll be taken care of by man. Even though that was not a reality. That that did not respect every woman's reality that they had a male salary to rely on particularly women of color. And so by the end of her time going up against that barrier. The court had come around to the idea that women also deserve equal protection under the law. But she did. So by picking cases, that were not weeping. They were definitely step by step incremental. I think that that's one reason why she's become so radicalized in the last few years, but she has become such a fierce dissenter because cases, like Shelby county were activists. They I mean Shelby county gutted the Voting Rights Act, which had just been reauthorized just a few years earlier and signed by George W Bush by bipartisan majority of congress and signed by Republican president. And here was this George W Bush appointee John Roberts thing that racism is dead. And we don't have the Voting Rights Act any. More wonder what he thinks about racism being dead now. And he, you know, did so on the sweeping theory that didn't really have ground. Aiming the entire point of the way that the supreme court works is step by step cases building on cases. But the protests has always been that it's liberal toward your digital activists. And in a series of cases, including this one. The core did act in a kind of sweeping way. And I think that helped create Justice Ginsburg has been Dettori Rb G out of outrage for the fact that the rules are not being followed. And her notion was that if we did act in an incremental way to try to create a more equal country and to try to make good on the promise of we the people to mean all the people that we had to do it in a step by step way to avoid backlash. Of course. The backlash has come. Anyway, the times have four. Forced her to be you know, what she is now which is whenever possible she crafts a compromise. And have been a few surprising time in the last couple of years where she hasn't assented where she's convinced just as Kennedy the keys swing vote to join her and really important cases, including cases involving abortion rights and immigration. And you know, recently also a case with with judge that's Gorsuch. But when the time comes she's ready with that hot descending pen and her collar. Yeah. Mccollough? So something this is a switch gears a little bit something that I spend a lot of time thinking about is to sort of progressive tradition. That is president in the Jewish community. Do you feel like she is a is this part of her legacy like as a Jewish woman? You know, there are so many great examples of radical progressive fighters for social change who are Jewish and their their religion, really informs. Why they come? You know, why they are involved in social change work, which I think is really beautiful and something that we don't talk enough about is this something that you see in her legacy. I know that she is talked about being inspired by the Jewish tradition that is very much based in law and Justice and in in seeking Justice, and she actually has gonna quote display it in her office displayed in her office about seeking Justice at all saying, but I also know that her early stirring the seminars. I'm actually happened because as much as there is social Justice tradition in Judaism, like many religions, there's also a patriarchal tradition. And so when her mother died, she was not talented and gathering sort of the quorum for prey or because she was a woman, and it was one of the first moments was eighteen maybe seventeen at the time. And immediately realized that she did not count as a mourner because she was a woman, and I think that actually laid the groundwork for feminism. So yes, definitely she draws on the tradition of Jewish a commitment to the texts which is very much a part of Judaism legal textual them that close reading of laws in the constitution. They're Inle is something that's co curated with the way that Judaism is practice and United States and commitment to equality. But also, I think questioning the role of women. In Judaism, also helped make her who she is. Yeah. I wanted to go back to something. You've mentioned a couple of times, which is a Boertien anti choice folks like to point out sometimes that are g has an issue with Rivi weighed. But what's the reality of her thoughts on ruby? Wade. Well, we talked about Justice Ginsburg commitment to incremental change when she has talked about her problems with Roe v. Wade it has not been because she doesn't support a woman's access to abortion because she vociferiously supports reproductive freedom. Whether that's the decision to contraception have an abortion or she represented women who were being forced to have abortions by the government and women in North Carolina women of color were sterilized against their will some of her clients. So the full panoply of reproductive freedom has long been a really core part of the work that she's done, but her problem and ruby. Wade was twofold one is that she thought that it went too far too fast. So it struck down all of the criminal abortion bans in a single decision. And she thought that if. The court had moved more slowly, then potentially there would have been less of a backlash which a lot of scholars disagree with. But this is her well earned opinion, a lot of people think that there would have been a backlash. No matter what the other problem that. She has is with the reasoning of the opinion. She wanted it to be grounded in women's equality. Not in the right to privacy. Now there were equality arguments made to the justices, but they weren't ready to hear them at that point subsequently. There's been a lot more of understanding about how those liberty equality are important to reproductive freedom. But if you read Roe v Wade as just as Ginsburg because often pointed out, it talks about the doctors right practice it. Hardly at all considers what this means in a woman's life. It was written by Justice, Harry Blackmun who was had been general counsel of the mayo clinic and was really sympathetic to doctors argue. And this notion of privacy is you know, doesn't get you very far in reproductive Justice context, right? Is if it's your right to privacy. Then do you have a right to for example, get Medicaid coverage of abortion while the court has found. No that you do not. And that's certainly inequality issue that has a very different impact on low income people and people of color in this country. So it's a limited doctrine that doesn't take into account. All of the courts other cases that are about equality of women. And so I think if she were rewriting history, she's often said that she wishes that her case about an air force near to the air force was actually saying that she had to either get an abortion on base because abortion was actually legal in on military bases despite it being illegal in the United States or quit. And so she wanted to focus on the full option of reproductive choice. And it being about a woman right to chart her, own course in the government not being able to tell her what to do. But this is the history that we have totally totally. So my last question, what is something about Rb? Gee that would surprise people. It's something about her that you're that. You're like, oh, people don't know this better people don't know, necessarily, but she can do twenty push ups where it can afford it. I don't know Kenji, really. Actually, she worked out with Stephen Colbert. It was also in the forthcoming documentary Rb g Hirsch Rayner is interviewed and you can see Justice Ginsburg workout, and she there she is doing push ups squats pull ups, but she is in eighty five year old two time cancer survivor who has never missed a day on the bench and part of what accounts for her stamina is for fierce workout routine and her amazing trainer. Bryant who has his own book called the Arbizu workout, which is an awesome book. There's an entire bookshelves of our BG books out there right now, and I love him and his book. We also have an illustrated version of the workout in our book in an interview with him. He's part of the reason that Justice Ginsburg whose life is very important to the future of democracy is able to keep her breakneck schedule because she works out every day and twice a week with him. I have so glad you mentioned that because that's one of my favorite bags of. She could probably kick our asses. Comes in running. Yeah. We did her work out for the Melissa Harris Perry show RIP HP as show which was Gratiot for that show. Yeah. And and definitely by the end when we're like you win just. We're. I love it. That's one of my favorite. I don't know. If it's a mean. But one of my favorite Rb sayings is what is I'm going to put it. But it's like RV g didn't survive cancer twice for you to stay in bed and watch law and order be runs. Right. It's like this idea that if she can beat cancer twice be workout every day be this bad ass contributor to the supreme court. You can get out of bed. You know, turn off law and order go start here. I think about that. Also. I think about it too. I have to say she's exactly fifty years older than me. And I I'm exhausted just reading about her schedule. But it's definitely something to fire to absolutely could not have put it better myself in. Thank you so much for being here today where can folks find out more about what you're up to. Usually Twitter is the best way. I'm just I r I n on Twitter or Iran Kermode on Instagram. Also, we we recently came out with a young readers edition of the Tories RV g which is available in bookstores and online it's for the eight ten year old reader in your life or really anyone who likes a shorter clear more explained version of which is our g so you heard it here. First you've got a little one in your life. Who is maybe a future supreme court Justice in the making go out and pick up this edition for her because it's going to probably change your life. Yes. Or for him. Yeah. Exactly about our BG. Absolutely awesome. Thank you so much for being here. We really really appreciate it. It's fun to be with you. Instead. Wells miniatures. What are you about RPG? Do you have the t shirt and the book and the dolls and the coloring costumes if you just your child up as for Halloween, please let us know tiger Instagram photos. You can find us on Instagram stuff on the ver- told you on Twitter at mom's podcast, and as always finish your favorite Rb Geeta sent the Email mums dot at how stuff works dot com. Today's episode of stuff. I'm never told. You is brought to you by smart water listeners. I drink a lot of water a lot a lot a lot so much. So that one of my nicknames used to be goldfish here in the office. There's nothing I love more than some cold water after exercise, and I love smart water, not only for the taste, but for the uniquely designed bottle if you are looking to stay hydrated, keep your mind refreshed and ready to tackle the day reach for a bottle of smart water.

Coming up next