How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Became a Pop Culture Phenomenon

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Became a Pop Culture Phenomenon

Ever heard of the Notorious R.B.G.? A community on the micro-blogging platform Tumblr turned Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg into a cult icon. The blog has garnered considerable attention in recent times, including shout outs from other blogs and even the official White House Twitter.

Ginsburg (then Bader) grew up in Brooklyn, graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in government, and attended Harvard Law School before graduating from Columbia Law School with her Bachelor of Laws. During her education, she was regarded as the first woman to be part of both the Columbia Law Review and Harvard Law Review. Following her graduation from Harvard, Ginsburg failed to get a clerkship position on the basis of gender. Eventually, she received a clerkship position and began working her way up in the law world. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg to the Supreme Court.

The popular Supreme Court Justice dealt with tremendous hardships on the path to the nation’s most prestigious courtroom role, making her a role model for many youth. Her husband, Martin, contracted testicular cancer when the couple attended Harvard. She took care of him and their young daughter while excelling in school (and aiding him with his schoolwork), tying for first place in their class. In 1999 and 2009, she was diagnosed with colon and pancreatic cancer respectively, and following treatment, immediately returned to the bench.

Her liberal views and strong voice make her a champion of an increasingly young audience, making key decisions on social issues like same-sex marriage and the ability of religious corporations to make decisions on providing reproductive health care. As a result, many have taken to celebrating her firm stances and unity with other liberals on the bench. The Notorious R.B.G. blog shares additional news on what she’s up to, her opinions on major decisions, and of course, Internet memes and jokes.

What makes R.B.G. so notorious is her fearlessness and blunt honesty. After GIFs of her falling asleep during the State of the Union surfaced, Ginsburg admitted that it was something she “often does” and that she “wasn’t 100% sober.” Her dissenting opinions strongly condemn the decisions of the court while remaining respectful and unified with her fellow dissenters. However, one of the qualities that make her most endearing to others is her ability to remain friends with conservative justices, such as Justice Antonin Scalia.

The blog surfaced in 2013, following a scathing dissent on the Voting Rights Act. The culture surrounding her has grown considerably throughout the years since, including Notorious R.B.G. shirts, rap battle videos with Scalia, and pictures. It’s clear that it’s well-deserved, however, as she’s done a lot of work to merit such treatment. Here’s to you, Notorious R.B.G.

Cover image courtesy of The Notorious R.B.G.