×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Says She’s ‘Feeling Just Fine’ After Falling Last Month

WASHINGTON — As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg watched Focus Features and Participant Media’s “On the Basis of Sex” for the first time at a National Archives screening in Washington, D.C., she got big applause for how she described her wellbeing after suffering a fall last month.

“I’m feeling just fine, and I am meeting my personal trainer tomorrow,” Ginsburg told NPR’s Nina Tonenberg in a Q&A session before the movie.

Last month, Ginsburg, 85, was hospitalized with three broken ribs from a fall, but she has recovered quickly, having appeared at the White House for the National Medal of Freedom ceremony just a couple of weeks later, and then at the funeral of George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral last week.

On the Basis of Sex,” directed by Mimi Leder and written by Ginsburg’s newphen Dan Stiepleman, depicts how Ginsburg took her first gender discrimination case to federal court in the 1970s. Felicity Jones stars as Ginsburg and Armie Hammer plays her husband, Marty, who became her greatest champion at a time when women seeking a career in law were subject to blatant discrimination.

It was Marty Ginsburg who first came to Ruth with the case of Moritz vs. IRS, which involved an unmarried man who was denied a tax deduction for caregiving expenses because of his gender.

“When Dan came to me with this idea [for the movie], I said, ‘Well, if you want to spend years of your life, it is your choice, if you want to do it,'” Ginsburg told the audience. “And I asked why did he pick the Moritz case? Why did you pick that case instead of one of the Supreme Court cases? And Dan’s answer was, ‘I want this film to be as much story of a marriage as the development of a legal strategy.'”

Marty Ginsburg first alerted Ginsburg to the tax case, in an instance that is depicted in the move.

“Marty came into my little room, he worked in the bigger room, and he said, ‘Ruth, read this.’ And I said, ‘Marty, you know I don’t read tax cases,” Ginsburg recalled. “[He said] ‘Read this one.’ About 10 minutes later, I walked into his big room and said, ‘Marty, let’s take it.'”

The case ended up launching Ginsburg’s work on a series of gender discrimination cases, and led to the creation of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

“Pauline Murray and Dorothy Kenyon were the women who pressured the ACLU to get into the gender discrimination business,” Ginsburg recalled. “And one of Dorothy Kenyon’s missions was to put women on juries in every state of the union. The young people in this audience probably think it is inconceivable that women were automatically exempt from jury duty in most states. I thought we were standing on the shoulders of those women, they had said the same thing in the ’40s in the ’50s into the ’60s that we were saying in the ’70s. The difference was society was not yet ready to listen. In the ’70s, things had changed so we could prevail.”

The movie also shows the discrimination that Ginsburg faced, particularly in the 1950s at Harvard Law School. Dean Erwin Griswold, played by Sam Waterston, is shown asking Ginsburg how she could justify taking the place of a man.

Ginsburg said that even at Rutgers, where she taught, she feared that when she became pregnant, her contract wouldn’t be renewed because there were no law prohibiting such treatment.

“I borrowed my mother-in-law’s clothes,” she said. “She was one size larger, so it was perfect. I got through the semester. I had my contract renewed, and the last day of the term I told my colleagues, when I return in September, there will be one more in our family.”

Ginsburg said that she reviewed three renditions of the script before handing off the reading duties to her daughter Jane. “And she and she read script four, five, six and I don’t know how many more, till it was done,” she said.

Totenberg noted that Ginsburg “argued” with her nephew about a scene at the beginning of the movie in which she is shown wearing heels as she entered Harvard. She didn’t wear them. But she didn’t object to a how the final climatic final oral argument was portrayed, in which Ginsburg at first freezes up before the three judge appellate panel and then recovers in her rebuttal.

Totenburg said that she asked Stiepleman, “Is that true? Did she freeze up in the beginning of the argument?’ And he said, ‘Ruth Ginsburg never flubbed an argument in her life.'”

“There was no rebuttal,” Ginsburg responded. “Marty had the first 12 minutes, and I had the rest. I think questions continued beyond the half hour allotted to the two of us, but there was no rebuttal time.” But she doesn’t mind the sequence. “It fits in very well the way it is portrayed in the film,” she said.

Tonenberg also asked her what she thought of one scene in the movie, which she called the “sex scene,” showing Ginsburg and her husband having intimate relations.

“My response to that is, ‘Marty would have loved it,'” Ginsburg said, to great laughs in the audience.

The screening was the first time Ginsburg saw the completed project. As she left, she stood and clapped to the cast and crew.

More Politics

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Spectators watch the 2019 Eurovision Song

    U.S. Music Industry Delegation Convenes in Tel Aviv for Eurovision

    This past weekend, squeezed between a string of Eurovision Song Contest parties, Tel Aviv’s posh Norman hotel played host to an intimate, invite-only dinner of music industry delegates from the United States. The rooftop-set event was designed as a highlight on the itinerary of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) weeklong trip to Israel. CCFP, [...]

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

  • CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L)

    FCC Chairman Backs T-Mobile, Sprint Merger With New Conditions

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a thumbs-up to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed $26 billion merger, after the companies committed to enhanced 5G buildout commitments and agreed to spin off Sprint’s Boost Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their plans to merge in April 2018, looking to combine forces to take on industry leaders AT&T and [...]

  • Billie Eilish and Debbie Harry

    Billie Eilish, Blondie's Debbie Harry Attack Abortion Ban

    Songwriting took a backseat to politics for the female honorees at Thursday night’s ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton. America’s rapidly spreading anti-abortion movement in states such as Alabama, Georgia and, most recently, Missouri — and resulting legal battles that could lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade — had veteran [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content