The Winning Vote
Ruth - Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words
Comments by: Goodwin Liu, Erwin Chemerinski, Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik, Jennifer Carroll Foy and Lilly Ledbetter
Director: Freida Lee Mock
Scriptwriters: Freida Lee Mock and M. A. Golan
Composer: Lily Haydn
Cinematography: Jon Shenk, Don Lenzer, Erich Roland and Rob Rainey
Sanders and Mock productions/Kino Lorber/Virgil Films
Running Length: 89 Minutes
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933-September 18, 2020) passed away and was honored by having her casket in state at the U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington,D.C. She is the first woman to have this honor. Ginsburg was a fighter for women’s equality and with her precision mind, was able to set a precedent in the nation’s High Court. This documentary has scenes of Ginsberg speaking to the U.S. Senate or middle-schoolers. In each one, she was poised and ready for the occasion.
Ruth was a lawyer and a young married woman with children, who could not get a job. No one would hire a woman and was told to stay home and be a wife and mother. She fought against this stereotype her entire life. Her career advanced from attorney to President Clinton’s nominating her to be a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. President Biden was a member of the panel at that time. When Ruth got the summary vote, of 96-3, Ruth finally had a place where she could direct attention to women’s plights in the workplace. She has said, “I am what I am.” Ruth became friends with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and Justice Anthony Scalia. A friendship with Scalia revolved around their love of opera to the extent that an opera was written about them with broad humor.
A sample of cases in which Justice Ginsburg’s opinion was highly noted include the United States vs. Virginia Military Institute (allowing female students) and Lilly Ledbetter vs. Goodyear (equal pay for women.) Ruth gave an example using a symphony orchestra where women were not allowed to participate, except for an occasional harpist. To avoid “unconscious bias,” musicians auditioning for a job would sit behind a curtain so no one could see who was playing. People were shoeless, so the type of shoe would not give away the identity of the person auditioning.
Throughout this documentary, you see that Justice Ruth, who joking said that she and the rapper Notorious B.I.G. had something in common, she is called “Notorious RBG” and they both were born in Brooklyn. She caught the attention of her peers for knowledge, courage and the ability to get to the heart of a matter swiftly.
To quote Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when she is asked “When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?” Her answer is, “When there are nine. People are shocked, but there’s been nine men and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” Plus, on marriage, “It helps sometimes to be a little deaf in marriage or workplace, including the good job I have now.”
“Ruth - Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words” is well-organized and gives the audience a look into the life of a woman who changes history for women by championing their rights. Ginsburg’s sense of humor, dedication, knowledge of the law and ability to give a good speech is brought forward and this documentary could be used in the teaching profession to show what is possible when you put your mind to it.
Copyright 2021 Marie Asner