Notorious: A retrospective look into the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The life and times of the Notorious RBG chronicled at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

When asked how many women would be an appropriate number to sit on the US Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg answered “nine.”  That’s the price of admission to the Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibition at the National Museum of American Jewish History (nine dollars).  The exhibition is based on the book (of the same name) by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.  

In 2013, following several groundbreaking dissents by Justice Ginsburg, Knizhnik, a Philadelphia native, began a blog on tumblr (https://notoriousrbg.tumblr.com/) during which she likened the now affectionately-dubbed “Notorious RBG” with rap icon Christopher Wallace, aka “the Notorious B.I.G.”

Whether you’re a layperson or a lawyer, you’ll appreciate the exhibition’s graffiti-emblazoned walls, audio recordings, artistic depictions, video footage, and accumulated artifacts.  This homage to RBG was organized by the Skirball Cultural Center of Los Angeles and funded by the generous support of various donors, chief among them Lynda and Stewart Resnick.

As I examined the accumulated evidence of a life extraordinarily lived, one of the elements I found most compelling was the devoted partnership of equals that was Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s marriage to her late husband “Marty.”  Notorious RBG co-authors Carmon and Knizhnik must have been equally inspired by Ruth and Marty’s example because each woman had her respective marriage officiated by the judge.  Apparently, when she’s not doing push-ups, combatting cancer, issuing decisions from the bench, or establishing legal precedence, she’s finding ways to leave behind a legacy of love.  And, if, like me, you were uninformed about the details of RBG’s personal life, don’t worry about it.  As Biggie himself would say, “It’s all good, baby baby. If you don’t know, now you know.”

The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibition, located at NMAJH, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA 19106, runs from October 4, 2019, through January 12, 2020.  It’s a definite must-see.  For more information visit https://www.nmajh.org/exhibitions/rbg/.

Images: Robert Wedemeyer

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