Who would have thought a bespectacled, elderly jurist would become a pop-culture icon, feted in song and story so widely that she might be likened to a hip-hop star?
Though the hip-hop star in question, the late Notorious B.I.G., is an inapposite choice, MSNBC correspondent Carmon and attorney Knizhnik, building on the latter’s popular law-studies blog, serve up something between a biography and a scrapbook. If you want to understand how, through tireless work and endless determination, the scholarly RBG should have overcome discrimination to rise to the top of the judicial pyramid, then this book serves, but so too if you want “only to learn to get buff like an octogenarian who can do twenty push-ups.” Ginsburg starts on the elliptical, then moves on with her trainer to do planks, “where he does his best to knock the tiny justice down.” By this point, readers will understand that nothing can knock Justice Ginsburg down, not cancer or the death of a beloved spouse or having to see Samuel Alito every workday. “RBG had a job to do,” Carmon and Knizhnik cheer, “and she wasn’t done yet.” The book goes beyond admiring, and though it is generally courtly toward the rest of the court, Ginsburg is its unlikely dazzling star. By the end of this celebration, in which the authors make some pertinent, serious legal points, even readers disinclined to think of the justice as a pop icon will find new respect for her—unless, that is, they’re ideologically bound not to, for RBG emerges as an unshakable champion of women’s rights and, horrors, as a classic liberal. Besides, RBG writes a mean dissent—e.g., “This is not the first time this court has ordered a cramped interpretation of Title VII.”
Just the thing for the aspiring lawyer out to do good in the world.