When U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Fordham Law in September 2016 to talk about her life and career, the Law School became a scene in a movie. A video crew was on hand to document the proceedings, and some of that footage is now featured in the film RBG, a documentary about Justice Ginsburg’s legal legacy.
During that 2016 event, the Robert L. Levine Distinguished Lecture Series, Justice Ginsburg conversed with one of her former clerks, Professor Aaron Saiger, who posed questions to her from Fordham Law faculty and students.
RBG has been winning over reviewers and audiences since its May 4 premiere. The movie currently has a 94% “certified fresh” rating on the film website Rotten Tomatoes. New York Times film critic A.O. Scott says, “The movie’s touch is light and its spirit buoyant, but there is no mistaking its seriousness or its passion.”
Those qualities would do well to describe Justice Ginsburg’s 2016 Fordham Law visit. In a spirited 90-minute talk, Justice Ginsburg spoke variously about gender equality, unconscious bias, and the admiration she has for her fellow Supreme Court justices. But she did not shy away from lighter topics.
For instance, she spoke about the origins of her famous nickname, which derived from an NYU law student’s Tumblr and later became the title of a best-selling book.
“Obviously, the reason I’m the Notorious RBG is because of the rapper the Notorious B.I.G.,” explained Ginsburg. “The two of us have at least one important thing in common: we were both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York.” Ginsburg waited for the applause to abate before adding, “It is amazing that at age 83 everyone wants to take a picture with me.”