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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
“I ask no favour for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” (RBG looks to camera and quotes the words of Sarah Grimke, a pioneer for human rights in the 1800s) The 85-year-old US Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is known as the great dissenter, beloved of American progressives of all ages because of her stand on gender equality and civil liberties.
Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West are unabashed fans and their profile coincides with Ginsberg’s 25th anniversary on the Court. It includes footage of the rigorous workout routine she has followed since overcoming cancer in 1999. Having declined to step down from the Court so that the Democrats could replace her with another liberal judge while Obama was still in power, Ginsberg is said to be working very hard to remain fit and healthy long enough to foil the Trump administration’s desire to replace her with one of theirs.
West and Cohen give us a brief recital of her achievements, starting with her student years when she became one of only nine women to matriculate from Harvard Law School. At a celebratory dinner, one of her professors went around the table asking each woman how she could justify holding a place which would have otherwise have gone to a man.
Ginsberg’s friendships have sometimes transcended politics. For years, some of her supporters marvelled over her long-standing friendship with Antonin Scala, a conservative whose death in 2016 paved the way for Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch after the Republicans stymied Obama’s efforts to install his own choice. This inspirational bio-pic of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the U.S. second appointed Associate Justice tells the story of an exceptional human being. The film’s qualities reflect the same mesmerising effect Ginsberg has on her audiences, the many people who swarm to her public appearances.