It was nearly two decades into Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s tenure on the Supreme Court, that she became a meme. The Notorious RBG, subject of key rings, nail art, kids Halloween costumes and Tumblr pages. In her lace collars, sparkling brooches, big specs and scrunchies, the octogenarian became as known for her press ups and planks, as she was her trailblazing gender rights record. The subject of countless books, documentaries and films, we've rounded up some of the best below. Go on, revel in her excellence.
The title is a bit of a misnomer – this isn’t a memoir, but an anthology of Ginsburg’s work and words, from court cases, lectures, opinions and dissents. But don’t let that put you off, because while it’s obviously cerebral, you don’t need a legal brain. There are precocious entries that go as far back as eighth grade (when she was aged 13 or 14), and details about why, for the case that overturned a century of sexism, she employed ‘gender discrimination’ instead of ‘sex discrimination’. It’s also available as an audiobook, and yes, her soft and gravely voice features.
A wrought biopic that tells the story of Ginsburg (Felicity Jones), a struggling young lawyer, teaming up with husband Marty (Armie Hammer) to bring a groundbreaking case before the U.S. Court of Appeals. When she’s rebuffed, she redoubles her efforts, Marty with her every step of the way, cooking, parenting and crucially, ranking her career not only equal to, but more important than his own. Of all the places Ginsburg was discriminated against, home was not one, and Jones and Hammers portrayal is a heart-warming one tantamount to the truth. When you're done, grab a tissue before reading the letter he wrote 10 days before he died.
A jaunty and comprehensive run of RBGs life, from her upbringing in Brooklyn, to her time at Harvard where she was one of only a handful of women, and ultimately, her tenure on the Supreme Court, where she was the second only woman to serve. Interviews, crowd-rousing public appearances and archival material all make clear of Ginsburg’s gravity. Also how hard she fought to get her foot in the door of such a male-dominated profession. It depicts her playful but persuasive nature, her love of opera, and the extent to which she brought her opposition in, rather than pushed them away. Case in point: Antonin Scalia, who despite sitting on the opposite side of the bench, was a great friend with whom she shared elephant rides and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
An irreverent guide to Ginsburg’s modern influence by Shana Knizhnik, a lawyer who actually coined Notorious RBG (cool!) and Irin Camron, a journalist. Starting life as a Tumblr blog, Notorious RBG celebrated the justice with photos, memes and fan art. As such the book is a scrapbook-cum-memoir, with fun collages, weighty, poignant stories and excerpts annotated by scholars.