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Monday, May 28, 2018

RBG

I took my daughter and two of her friends to see RBG. It was pretty good, if not groundbreaking, and the girls (especially my daughter) enjoyed it. A few thoughts:

• The audience for the sold-out show appeared to be a mix of  families with tween girls and elderly Jewish women.

• The movie is less angry or snide in tone than the Notorious RBG. There was less of the "she's so cool, she's such a rockstar" that defines the book, although some of it remains. Because Ginsburg is interviewed extensively, the movie adopts a more serious tone. The movie depicts the positions opposite Ginsburg's (in cases such as Ledbetter, Bush, or Shelby County) as diverging from hers and incorrect. The  book ridicules those positions.

• The movie draws an explicit line between Thurgood Marshall and Ginsburg. Both made their reputations litigating civil rights cases and turned that into positions on the Court. And both spent part of their time on the Court writing dissents, particularly on the civil rights issues they had litigated. Posner argued that Marshall was a more influential lawyer than justice. I think we will remember Ginsburg as a more influential justice, given the more ideologically divided Court on which she has served and her leadership position on the Court since 2010, whereas Marshall worked in tandem with the more-senior and more-influential Justice Brennan for all but about one year on the Court.

• Speaking of ideology. The movie flashes two graphics showing the Court's ideological spectrum in 1993 (Ginsburg's first term) and 2005 (the first term with Roberts and Alito). In 1993, Ginsburg was fourth-most liberal Justice, with Stevens, Blackmun, and Souter to her left and Kennedy as the median Justice. In 2005, Ginsburg was second-most liberal, with only Stevens to her left. But that means she leapfrogged Souter ideologically. I wonder how they measured that.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 28, 2018 at 05:36 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink

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