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CNN Films Presents RBG. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired September 19, 2020 - 23:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one than Ruth. So Marty had to play the New York Philharmonic.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT: No question about it, people who observed at the time said, well, Ruth would have been on a list, maybe she would be 22 or 23, but it was Marty who made her number one. He had a little book of people that he contacted. They were --


NINA TOTENBERG, NPR CORRESPONDENT: He had lots of contacts in the business community, lots of contacts in the legal community, in the academic community, among the women she had helped. And he -- I don't even know all the things he did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was so in love with his wife and so respected her as a real giant in the legal profession, he felt it would be an outrage if she wasn't seriously considered.

BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And look, he wasn't the only one that was campaigning for somebody to be on the court. He had some pretty stiff opposition. But it was her interview that did it.

We arranged for her to come to the White House. I wanted to see how her mind works. So I engaged her in this conversation, and all of a sudden, I wasn't the president interviewing her for the Supreme Court anymore. We were two people having an honest discussion about what's the best way in the moment and for the future to make law.

TOTTENBERG: Ruth Ginsburg, as quiet and kind of withdrawn and almost timid as she can be, she is a performer. And she walked in that room and he fell for her.

CLINTON: Literally, within 15 minutes, I've decided I was going to name her.

I am proud to nominate this path-breaking attorney, advocate, and judge to be the 107th justice to the United States Supreme Court.



R. GINSBURG: When I was nominated back in 1993, Senator Biden chaired the committee. The leading Republican member was Orrin Hatch.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have any concerns right now?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): There are always concerns because these are very important positions. And so there will be a lot of questions asked.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Day two of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg confirmation hearings.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Judge Ginsburg did something no recent high court nominee has done. She spoke at length about her support for abortion rights.

R. GINSBURG: It is essential to women's equality with men that her choice -- that she be the decision maker. This is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity, and when government controls that decision for her, she's being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.

HATCH: She was put on the court by a liberal president as a liberal justice. And that's the way this country works.

I disagree with you on a number of things and I'm sure you'll disagree with me. But that isn't the issue, is it? And frankly, I admire you. You've earned the right, in my opinion, to be on the Supreme Court.

CLINTON: She was confirmed 96-3. Now, you would argue it's not as partisan a time as it is now, but it was pretty partisan.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Promising to defend the Constitution, pioneering women's rights advocate, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has been sworn in as the second woman on the U.S. Supreme Court bench.

R. GINSBURG: I will well and faithfully discharge --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

R. GINSBURG: The duties of the office on which I am about to enter.


R. GINSBURG: So help me God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was extremely exciting because this powerful little woman was going on the Supreme Court. And that meant there were going to be two.

R. GINSBURG: The standard room is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show and the tie. So Sandra Day O'Connor and I thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe something typical of a woman. During my long tenure here, I was not the most, quote, "liberal

justice" on the court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the beginning, I think what she was looking for ways to build consensus. Even though Chief Justice Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor were conservative justices, they were still justices with which Ginsburg was able to find common ground.

SHANE KNIZINIK, LAW STUDENT IN 2019: That was her style. She really wanted to be able to convince her fellow justices to move her way, even if it means conceding certain things and compromising.

R. GINSBURG: To start out, I thought you might like to know a little bit about the gentlemen who are surrounding us.


These are the first set of chief justices of the Supreme Court. John Marshal is the fourth chief justice and what he said was that this Constitution is the highest law of the land. The 14th Amendment has a clause that you all should know about. And I'll read it to you. It says, "And nor shall any state deny to any person the equal protection of the laws." So if Congress passes a law or the president issues an executive order that is in conflict with the Constitution, the Constitution must prevail.

LISA BEATTIE FRELINGHUYSEN, FORMER CLERK: VMI was a 150-year-old, all- male military college. It had a tremendous endowment, well-connected alumni, four-star generals. When you came out of VMI, that was something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Virginia Military Institute was the last all- male state-supported school in the country. 157 years of school tradition as an all-male military academy.

TED OLSON, LAWYER, STATE OF VIRGINIA: Boys can be troublesome, full of hormones, and so forth. I don't mean to make general gender characteristics or generalizations here, but for some young men at that time of their life, they need discipline. And VMI provided that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the men that stand before you. They represent the essence of VMI.

FRELINGHUYSEN: A female high school student wanted to attend VMI, so she brought a case against Virginia, claiming that the all-male admissions policy violated equal protection. It actually went from the district court to the appellate court before it came up to the Supreme Court.

This was an extremely important case for Justice Ginsburg. It was her first women's rights case on the Supreme Court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The honorable, the chief justice, and the associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.

OLSON: I was very much aware of Justice Ginsburg's history with respect to gender, excluding women from an institution. I was very much aware of that and I was trying to fashion an argument that would penetrate that.

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the court, educators are virtually united that many young men and young women significantly benefit from a single-sex education.

R. GINSBURG: The curiosity is that you're defending single-sex education when Virginia abandoned single-sex education in all schools but one.

OLSON: The -- that there were a number of women's only schools in Virginia that shows themselves to go to co-education because of the demands that occurred --

R. GINSBURG: Demands from whom?

OLSON: The trends that were away from single-sex education.

I was dealing with a very worthy and formidable force at the other side of that bench.

R. GINSBURG: To clarify, you are defending VMI for all males and no public programs for women?

OLSON: The effort is by Virginia is promote diversity by creating opportunities for people of both sexes.

That was my pitch. As you know, it didn't work.

CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM REHNQUIST, U.S. SUPREME COURT: The opinion of the court in Virginia against the United States will be announced by Justice Ginsburg.

R. GINSBURG: Some women can meet the physical standards VMI imposes on men, are capable of all the activities required of VMI cadets and would want to attend VMI if they had the chance. This opinion does mark as presumptively invalid a law that denies to women equal opportunity --

You aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on what they can do.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The full-men only tradition of VMI became history with the arrival of women entering as first year cadets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cadre, take charge of your rights.

KELLY SULLIVAN, VMI GRADUATE: I was in the first class of women. We were here not to break tradition, not to ruin history, was but to help grow it.


For those four years, I worked extremely hard to be the best person that I could be and to represent women as a whole. I wanted to be that person that stood in front of the men and say, can I do it, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's most appropriate that we welcome today a member of our nation's highest court and notable example of a citizen with a lifelong dedication to public service. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

R. GINSBURG: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the Virginia Military Institute.

SULLIVAN: VMI fought very hard to keep women out. I had an alumni walk up to me and he says, I'm not going to shake your hand. I want to know why you're here and why you decided to ruin my school?

R. GINSBURG: I know that there were some people who did not react well to the change and my response to this was, wait and see. You will be proud of the women who become graduates of VMI.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't just about VMI, it was about the notion that you cannot exclude women, just because they're women. You cannot say, categorically, they can't handle this. It's way beyond VMI. Way beyond. And she pulled some of the justices of that court over to see that you start, you start with an assumption that you have got to treat both genders equally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That majority opinion was the culmination of Ruth's dedication to the concept of equality for women.

R. GINSBURG: Those are current cadets. One wanted to be a nuclear scientist, the others engineers, all very well adjusted to life at VMI. So you can see, many varieties. There are more up on top. This is the latest one I've got.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So people just send them to you?

R. GINSBURG: Yes. What's in this one? Oh, this one was given to me by the University of Hawaii, with French lace and the beads are from the beach. It is a gift from law clerks a few terms back. And this is what I use for announcing majority opinion. And this one is for dissenting opinion.



R. GINSBURG: Every day before we sit in the court, the first thing we do is we go around the room, each justice shaking hands with every other. We know that collegiality is very important to the effective working of the court. So we better respect each other and even like each other.

CLINTON: She did something I'm not sure I could have done. She made real friendship with Scalia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are the leading voices of opposite points of view on the United States Supreme Court.

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Why don't you call us the odd couple?


R. GINSBURG: He is a very funny fellow.

A. SCALIA: She's a very nice person. She likes opera. You know, what's not to like?


A. SCALIA: Except her views of the law, of course.


HELEN ALVARE, ANTONIN SCALIA LAW SCHOOL, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: Justice Scalia who believes that one should read the Constitution according to its plain language, according to the meanings that were ascribed to those words when those words were enacted.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What you're saying is let's try to figure out the mindset of people back 200 years ago, right?

A. SCALIA: Not the mindset, it's what did the words mean to the people who ratified the Bill of Rights or who ratified the Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: As opposed to what people today think it means.

A. SCALIA: As opposed to what people today would like.

R. GINSBURG: I see the Constitution as striving for a more perfect union. Who were we the people in 1787? You would not be among we the people, African-Americans would not be among the people.

EUGENE SCALIA, JUSTICE SCALIA'S SON: She's this supposed famous liberal. He's this supposed famous conservative. She's Jewish. He's Catholic. She's retiring at times and he almost never is. And yet as with many great friendships, there's chemistry that maybe you can't entirely explain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the thing about Ruth is that she can compartmentalize better than I do. She is able to have a close friend who had these outrageous views about women and about gays and lesbians. I have a little bit of trouble with that. I don't have close friends who are right-wing nut cases.

HATCH: Even though they had different points of view, they were dear friends. I'm sure they were picking at each other the whole time, but I think they kind of enjoyed it.

R. GINSBURG: Justice Scalia would whisper something to me, all I could do to avoid laughing out loud was sometimes pinch myself. People sometimes ask me, well, what was your favorite Scalia joke, and I'd say, I know what it is, but I can't tell you. E. SCALIA: They enjoyed going to the operas together. They enjoyed

discussing particular operas and of course they appeared together in an opera.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the most fun thing you've ever done together? Was it being on that elephant in India?

R. GINSBURG: Now that -- that was a rather bumpy ride.

A. SCALIA: And some of her feminist friends gave her a hard time because she rode behind me on the elephant.


R. GINSBURG: Right. But that's --

A. SCALIA: I'm not kidding.

R. GINSBURG: It was -- the driver explained, it was a matter of distribution of weight.


E: SCALIA: Washington's reputation as being a, you know, hard town to make good friendships. And the Supreme Court itself is a place where your colleagues on any given case are also your adversaries. It was very gratifying to see the two of them together and know that they had their disagreements, but that my father had this just really wonderful friend.

PETER JENNINGS, JOURNALIST: The presidential election is over. George Bush prevails by one vote in the Supreme Court.

George, this effectively ends the election.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, JOURNALIST: It has ended the election. Peter, literally one of the closest elections in American history. 600 votes approximately separated Gore and Bush in the state of Florida and now by one vote on the Supreme Court, this election is over. Look at the dissents.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And the strong language in the dissents. Justice Ginsburg, the court's conclusion that if recount is impractical is a prophesy the court's own judgment will not allow to be tested. Such an untested prophesy --

R. GINSBURG: Should not decide the presidency of the United States. I dissent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was never supposed to be the great dissenter, but that's the course that history took her on. George W. Bush was able to appoint two justices. The addition of Samuel Alito and John Roberts on the court pushed it far to the right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The role of an individual justice can change dramatically as the court changes. With the departure of Justice O'Connor and with more conservatives joining the bench, she found she had to really exercise her dissenting voice.

R. GINSBURG: Of course I preferred to be in the majority, but if necessary, I will write separately and dissent.

LILLY LEDBETTER, PLAINTIFF: I went to work one night and someone had left me a note. It had my name and three men. We four had the exact same job. My pay was 40 percent less than theirs. I had been shortchanged for no other reason than I had been born the wrong sex. I was a woman.

The jury found that I had been discriminated against, but of course, Goodyear appealed and then we were notified that we would be heard in the Supreme Court. I looked at the court makeup but that's when Justice Alito had just got on the bench. Justice Ginsburg at the time was the only female left. Justice Alito read the opinion. He said, I was definitely discriminated against but I had not filed my charge timely. That I waited too late to file my charge.

JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

R. GINSBURG: The court does not comprehend or is indifferent to the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination. Congress intended to govern real-world employment practices and that world is what the court ignores today. Initially, you may not know that men are receiving more, only over time is there strong cause to suspect that discrimination is at work.

LEDBETTER: She's hit the nail on the head because she definitely said, they do not know what it's like in the real world.

R. GINSBURG: Today the ball again lies in Congress' court --

To correct the error into which the court has formed.

TOTTENBERG: She was laying down a marker for Congress. And in fact, federal law was changed because of her dissent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three fifths of the senators having voted in the affirmative, the bill is passed.

BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: It is fitting that the very first bill that I sign, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act is upholding one of this nation's founding principles. That we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness.


MARTIN GINSBURG, HUSBAND: Ruth and I were in New York City to see the play "Proof," and as we walked down the aisle to our seats, what seemed like the entire audience began to applaud. Many stood. Ruth beamed. I beamed, too. Leaned over and whispered loudly, I bet you didn't know there's a convention of tax lawyers in town.


M. GINSBURG: Well, without changing her bright smile, Ruth smacked me right in the stomach. I give you this picture because it fairly captures our nearly 50-year happy marriage, during which I have offered up an astonishing number of foolish pronouncements and Ruth has ignored almost everyone.

TOTTENBERG: Well, I think part of the time when he was sick, she was in denial. He just became weaker and weaker, the way people get sick when they're close to dying, but she somehow knew how to turn off those tear ducts in public. She steeled herself for it.

R. GINSBURG: I found this letter next to Marty's bed in the hospital. "My dearest Ruth, you are the only person I have loved in my life, setting aside a bit parents and kids and their kids. What a treat it has been to watch you progress to the very top of the legal world. I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell some 56 years ago. The time has come for me to take leave of life, because the loss of quality now simply overwhelms. I hope you will support where I come out and I understand you may not. I will not love you a drop less."

M. GINSBURG: We met on a blind date in 1950. The truth is, it was a blind date only on Ruth's side. I cheated. I asked a classmate to point her out in advance. Oh, she's really cute, I perceptively noticed. And then after couple of evenings out, I added, and boy, she's really, really smart. In the intervening 53 years, nothing changed.



R. GINSBURG: Where are we headed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're headed to the outdoor sculptures and all the sculptures are by contemporary Native American artists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After a period of very justified mourning, she sort of relaunched herself into her work and filled the time that she would have spent with my grandfather with work. Both to distract herself I think from his absence, but also to honor him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marty was her life and her children and grandchildren, who have a life of their own. She's very much interested in arts and loves to go to those things and then she goes home at the end of the evening and works until 4:00 in the morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These two pieces here are by a Greek artist. R. GINSBURG: And what is she called? That one?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's called a woman warrior. Any kind of battle you bring to her, she's ready for it.

GWEN IFILL, PBS NEWS: It's considered one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation ever passed. But by 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court today took the teeth out of a law enacted nearly 50 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Voting Rights Act has policed voting discrimination, but today's decision effectively puts it on hold.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Chief Justice John Roberts summarized his opinion in four telling words. Our country has changed.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

R. GINSBURG: Race-based voting discrimination still exists. This court's decision is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.

KNIZINIK: She called out the majority and said, this makes zero sense. And the entire reason that racial discrimination in voting is not happening is because we have this very important law.

AMINA SOW, WRITER: I was righteously anger right alongside with her.

FRANK CHI, MEDIA STRATEGIST: Her dissent was the introduction for many young people about how important the court is for our everyday lives. I just pulled up a Photoshop and did the design in like 15 minutes.

SOW: I came up with a couple of slogans, but the one that kept coming back to me was you can't spell "truth" without "Ruth."

KNIZINIK: A friend of mine posts in Facebook saying, wow, Justice Ginsburg short handwrite, hashtag, Notorious RBG, so I started a Tumblr and I called it "Notorious RBG."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is known to fans the world over as the Notorious RBG.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This song is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I never amount to nothing.


R. GINSBURG: I do know where Notorious RBG came from.


R. GINSBURG: It was a rapper, the Notorious BIG.

People ask me, don't you feel uncomfortable being with a name like the Notorious BIG? And why should I feel uncomfortable? We have a lot in common. (LAUGHTER)

R. GINSBURG: First and foremost, we were both born and bred in Brooklyn, New York.

SOW: Young people are really craving different kinds of icons. Realizing that somebody like RBG has been doing her job for decades and being forceful and speaking truth to power kind of blows my mind.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A big win for conservatives in the Hobby Lobby case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

R. GINSBURG: The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.

SOW: We were all so hungry to hear from Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every time Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissent, the internet would explode.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice Ginsburg has filed a dissenting opinion.

R. GINSBURG: My dissenting opinion -- I dissent, dissent from today's decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just had the put the words Ruth Bader Ginsburg into something and that it would get shared compulsively.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's become such a rock star and she enjoys it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To see people wear Notorious RBG T-shirts or other sort of paraphernalia with her face on it, it's weird honestly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She gives her RBG T-shirts to people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She called and left, did you get the birthday gift? I said, I did. I'm wearing it.


KNIZINIK: Lots of tattoos.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I had a picture of one of the tattoos. And I showed it to her and she goes, why would you do something so permanent?

COLIN JOST, "SNL": Here now to comment is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. All right. Justice, coming in hot.

KATE MCKINNON, "SNL": I'm ready to rumble, Mayweather-Pacquiao style. I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I cling myself like a fly. JAMES STEVEN GINSBURG, SON: It's so unlike mom, but I don't think mom

-- an accurate imitation of mom would be that funny.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think she watches them?

JAMES GINSBURG: I don't think she's ever watched television.

JANE GINSBURG, DAUGHTER: Yes. I thought she (INAUDIBLE) how to turn on.

JAMES GINSBURG: I do know she watches the NewsHour while she's working out.

JANE GINSBURG: Yes. But that's at the court. Does she know how to turn on the television at home?

JAMES GINSBURG: I don't think so.

JOST: Here to explain is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

R. GINSBURG: Is this "Saturday Night Live"?

MCKINNON: I like my men like I like my decisions, 5-4. That's a third- degree Gins-burn.

R. GINSBURG: It's marvelously funny, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remind you of yourself?

R. GINSBURG: Not one bit. Except for the collar.

JOST: What about the State of the Union where you were caught sleeping?

MCKINNON: No, I wasn't sleeping, I was giving into the weight of my glasses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Watching the State of the Union and I noticed that her head is drooping a little bit and she might have dozed off for a minute or two. After that happened and called her up and said, bubby, you were asleep during the State of the Union. You can't do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You went to the State of the Union and you fell asleep.


R. GINSBURG: As I often do. The audience for the most part is awake because they're bobbing up and down all the time. And we sit there, stone faced, sober judges, but we're not, at least I wasn't, 100 percent sober.

TOTTENBERG: She does look vulnerable. She is this tiny little person. And that is somehow in contrast with being the ferocious defender of minorities and women and certain kinds of ideals. JAMES GINSBURG: There's always, I think, the concern, that can she

continue to keep up this pace?

JANE GINSBURG: Well, and she's now been through two different types of cancer without missing a day on the bench.


R. GINSBURG: I had my first cancer bout in 1999, colorectal cancer. It was a year of first surgery and then chemotherapy. Ten years later, I had pancreatic cancer. I think what it has left me is an enhanced appreciation of the joys of being alive.

BRYANT JOHNSON, FITNESS TRAINER: I want you to do is just grab them and just pull.

R. GINSBURG: Just standing up straight?

JOHNSON: Yes. And just pull. Don't lean back. Good. Just pull, pull. OK. Arch that back. Good.

R. GINSBURG: This is light.

JOHNSON: I know, I know. I got a heavier one. Since it's too light, I've got a heavier one.

I started training Justice Ginsburg back in 1999. She had just come out of chemotherapy and she wanted to build muscle and get stronger. She's like a cyborg, and when I say cyborg, she's like a machine.

Lean back. Good, yes, and pull yourself up. Exactly. Good. Try to bring your chest down to the ball. Good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're real push-ups, right? They're not girl push-ups?

R. GINSBURG: They are very real, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard that she does 20 push-ups three times a week or something. I mean, we can't even get off the floor. We can't even get down to the floor.



R. GINSBURG: I always feel better, no matter how tired I am. At the end of that hour, I'm ready to go again.

KNIZINIK: She definitely embodies the larger than life nature of the notorious title more and more as she gets older.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's become much more public, much more vocal.

SOW: Especially in a time where our politics are just so garbage.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke fearfully of a Donald Trump presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: An unusually candid political outpouring, calling Trump a faker.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Justice Ginsburg made some very, very inappropriate statements toward me.

TOTTENBERG: I was flabbergasted. It surprised me that she would comment in a derogatory way about any candidate for president. It's -- it's inappropriate.

ALVARE: It's not just matter of decorum, it's a matter of her not understanding her constitutional role.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: She has just come out and issued an apology.

KATIE COURIC, JOURNALIST: You released a statement that read, "Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office." But do you really regret the substance of what you said?

R. GINSBURG: I think the best -- the wisest course would have been to say nothing.

HATCH: Is it wrong for Supreme Court justices to occasionally make a mistake? No. They're human beings. And she's a human being. And she apologized for it.

ALVARE: It is quite possible that many, many executive orders or other things that a president has supported or done are going to come before the Supreme Court. And that now we have a sitting justice indicating that that person has a deep antipathy against the lawmaker.

R. GINSBURG: The notion that I don't comprehend that my job is to interpret the law fairly, that I'm going to vote one way based on who I might have voted for president is just -- none of us, even if we wanted to, could be successful if that's the attitude that we had.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look marvelous.

ROBERT LONGBOTTOM, DIRECTOR: Knowing that we were opening on the Saturday after the election, I wanted somebody who was a Washington insider to play the Duchess of Krakenthorp.

R. GINSBURG: The best of the House of Krakenthorp.

There are very few operas that have speaking parts, and the Duchess of Krakenthorp was such part. So I wrote basically my own lines for the Duchess of Krakenthorp.

The best of the House of Krakenthorp have open but not empty minds. No surprise then that the most valorous Krakenthorpeans have been women.


R. GINSBURG: A Krakenthorp at all times must conduct herself with dignity and grace. We now request certain essential documents. Have you brought your niece's birth certificate?


R. GINSBURG: Ours is a family wildly trumpeted, hence we must take precautions against fraudulent pretenders.



JOST: But, Justice Ginsburg, I think everyone expected you to retire soon. I mean, you're 83.

MCKINNON: Yes, you're damn right I was going to retire. But not now. Not now. Now I've got to stay alive and healthy, dammit. Give me my thing. Excuse me, I'm taking my vitamins.

JOST: Yes. Oh, my god. That's a packet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice Ginsburg, let me ask you a tough question. There were liberals who publicly urged you to retire two, three years ago so that President Obama could name a replacement. Any second thoughts about not doing that?

R. GINSBURG: I've said many times that I will do this job as long as I can do it full steam. And when I can't, that will be the time that I will step down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has found her voice on the court. She is a center of power on the court and off the court.

TOTTENBERG: When the history books are written an enormous amount will be about what she did as a very young lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There would not have been the legal status of women today had it not been for her work in the '70s. She changed everything.

R. GINSBURG: The gender line helps to keep women not on a pedestal but in a cage.

GLORIA STEINEM, WRITER AND ACTIVIST: Ruth's work made me feel as if I was protected by the U.S. Constitution for the first time.

R. GINSBURG: Men and women are persons of equal dignity and they should count equally before the law.

LEDBETTER: She may be small, but she's got a firm backbone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been a long road for her, and she's fought really hard all the way down it. She's not done fighting. R. GINSBURG: Looking back over my long life, yes, we may be in trying

times, but think how it was. When I went to college there was a big red scare in our country. Some people on our Congress saw a communist in every closet and in every corner. But it impressed me that there were lawyers reminding our Congress that we had freedom of speech and of the press. So I thought that was a very good thing to do. To help keep our country in tune with its most basic values.

Now is the busiest season for the court. All dissenting opinions have to be circulated, and I have a few of those still to go.

One of the world's greatest jurists, Judge Learned Hand, said that the spirit of liberty that imbues our Constitution must lie first and foremost in the hearts of the men and women who compose this great nation. A community where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.

I will keep that wisdom in the front of my mind as long as I am capable of judicial service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oyez, oyez, oyez. The court is now sitting.