Cover Image: Conversations with RBG

Conversations with RBG

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Conversations with RBG isn't a long book, but it also isn't a quick read.  Ruth Bader Ginsberg has lived a unique and fascinating life and it is interesting to read the perspective from one of her friends.  I did have to take breaks as it is pretty dense, however it was worth the read.
Was this review helpful?
Such a great look at RBG! She led such a fascinating life, and it was so neat to hear her stories in her own words.
Was this review helpful?
Conversations with RBG is filled with interesting tidbits from the author’s conversations and correspondence with RBG which will be fascinating to those who are interested in the life of such a remarkable Supreme Court Justice.
It was interesting to read about the portion of her life before she joined the Supreme Court as well as later times. Rosen has an unusual and friendly professional relationship with her which allows him insight into her thoughts and interests. He is in a unique position to share these with readers-from her interest in opera to her feminist ideals. I found the writing style to be at times dry, and those unfamiliar with specific issues related to law and judiciary work may find it difficult to become invested in the writing. However, overall this is a very interesting look to a remarkable woman's life, interests, and work.
Was this review helpful?
CONVERSATIONS WITH RBG by Jeffrey Rosen is a new work of non-fiction featuring "Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law." Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, is also the president and chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center.  He describes conversations – some almost verbatim -  that he has held over the last two decades with the Supreme Court Justice.  Students interested in Constitutional Law and current issues like those related to support for Planned Parenthood or the Voting Rights Act will find much of interest here.

I loved the characterization from Julie Cohen in The Washington Post who said, "At its best, "Conversations" makes you feel like a student in the world's coolest law school seminar, with Ginsburg and Rosen deftly leading you through constitutional clauses and case law to elucidate how the court works and why it matters." Notes and a helpful index are included. And, of course, there is plenty of humor (You can't spell TRUTH without Ruth). CONVERSATIONS WITH RBG is a unique supplement to other works in our collection, including those that feature Ginsburg like Notorious RBG and the film On the Basis of Sex.

Local note: The Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie will be presenting an exhibit titled "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg" from February 9 until August 16. Authors Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik will speak at the opening program and the exhibit itself will feature interactives, archival photographs, and much more.

Links in live post:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/talking-with-ruth-bader-ginsburg-about-case-law-and-t-shirts/2019/11/08/b2cd5136-f4e5-11e9-ad8b-85e2aa00b5ce_story.html 

https://www.ilholocaustmuseum.org/rbg/
Was this review helpful?
This book is great! It covers 20 years of conversations between the author and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, discussing the opera, her husband, her favorite dissents, her work ethic, Roe v Wade, and the future of the country, as well as her relationships with the other judges. She discusses how when she was in law school, there were not a lot of women there and what it is to be the only woman on the bench.  What a lovely book. I felt like I really got to know RBG as a person as well as her ideals. Highly recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you with gratitude to the publisher, the author and to Net Galley for this extraordinary opportunity to review this exemplary body of work.  My review opinion is my own.
 I highly recommend this book for your reading enjoyment  of one of America's most brilliant legal minds. 

I appreciate that the author has known RBG for several years and that this was a mutual agreed upon project by both of them.  The author has complied a series of conversations with her that vary from Patriotism, to  the tenants of upholding Constitutional law,  to her love of county and her remarkable career on the Supreme Court.  She speaks candidly of her rise in popularity, of women's rights and of the climate of today's government. She speaks of our Constitution and how the Supreme Court rules by following  precedents.  This is a insightful look into the mind of RBG and how brilliant she is.  I truly loved reading this book and learning about RBG who I admire so much. She is truly an American treasure and we are grateful to her for her service on the Supreme Court.  This is the most "Definitive" book that I have read on RBG as these are her own words. Very well done to the author.
Was this review helpful?
Because I love reading about RBG, I enjoyed reading this book. However, because I have read so many books about RBG, this one offered no new insights to the Supreme Court Justice's life and work. The reason why I gave the book 4 stars is because it is a bit repetitive--the introductions give away key moments of each interview so that by the time you read the interview it is almost as if you have read the same thing twice.
Was this review helpful?
I adore Ruth Bader Ginsburg and wanted to love this book. In fact, I thought I wanted to buy it but am glad I ended up getting access to it through Net Galley because I would’ve been upset to have spent my money on this. I think it would’ve been a nice coffee table type book of RBG interviews and quotes. Or it could’ve been a nice introduction to her, her gender discrimination cases, experiences on the Supreme Court, and thoughts and views. Unfortunately, this book is a bit of a mess that needed to be edited or co stricter much differently. 

The author, a prominent legal scholar and journalist, ended up befriending Ginsburg back when he was a clerk on the US Court of Appeals and she was a judge there. They bonded over a love of opera and when she was nominated for the Supreme Court by President Clinton a few years later, Rosen was then writing for the New Republic and it was a piece by him that helped sway public and congressional opinion for RBG, both before her official nomination and during the congressional hearing to approve her nomination. So Rosen was in a very unique position to be writing this book. In fact, I’m positive he could’ve written an excellent book on RBG, but unfortunately this isn’t that. 

I wonder if this book would’ve been better as a biography with the addition perhaps of some of Rosen’s personal experiences and interviews with her. Or the coffee table book idea I mentioned. Instead it’s kind of a mashup of both and that’s it’s greatest failing. Chapters are split up into themes such as Roe vs Wade, the #MeToo movement, famous dissents, cases Ruth would like overturned, etc. There are transcripts from several interviews Rosen had with Ruth and because of the way they’re organized by topic and that these are sections from more than one interview, things get repetitive. But worse still, before each interview section, Rosen writes an introduction explaining various things, the history, how the Supreme Court works, etc. In a way, I enjoyed this. It gives context to some of what comes up in the interview. The only problem is, this intro often ends up summarizing everything that comes after it in chapter. He repeatedly quoted or expounds on RBG’s views so a few minutes later when you’re reading the interview it’s a repeat of what you’ve just read but this time in Ruth’s own words. This bother me much more, I think, than seeing a few things get repeated from one chapter to the next (an issue other reviewers have called out as well). I could’ve handled some repetition in that sense. It’s also why I think the interview transcripts would’ve made a nice coffee table book to pick up and read parts of at different times. But to see things repeated on the same chapter or have the introduction to each chapter make the interviews almost pointless was frustrating. 

I like the introductions and background info Rosen gives in each chapter though. I also like and enjoyed highlighting Ruth’s own words. But I feel these could’ve been integrated better, perhaps? Or this almost could’ve been two different books but does not work well as is. 

I’ve also seen or read parts of these prominent interviews before as I’m sure other RBG fans have as well. This book might make a nice introduction for someone looking to know more about RBG but for longtime fans or more legally and politically minded folks, unfortunately there isn’t really anything new to learn here that I haven’t heard or seen covered elsewhere. I think the interview transcripts still would’ve made a nice addition to the collection of fans or people with an interest in US law and politics or the chapter intros could’ve been extended or worked through better to make a fantastic intro to RBG. I guess this book suffers from not knowing just what it wants to be. I’m kind of surprised it got published and unfortunately thing the combination of Ruth’s popularity and the author’s background is why. This could’ve been a nice gift book for the holidays for one or the other groups I mentioned above but I can’t really recommend it. 

I’m still glad I got the chance to read it and value having a collection of Ruth’s own words by category (so perhaps as a reference type piece) but it could’ve been so much than what it ended up being.
Was this review helpful?
This book is like eating a slice of history (though not just Supreme Court-related).  It was much more interesting than I had anticipated (and I had expected it to be interesting, or I wouldn't have read it).  Anyone interested in law, and of course law students, should definitely read this book.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a great introduction to Ruth Bader Ginsburg but it may not provide any new information for fans that have followed her career since the beginning. I only recently watched her documentaries on Netflix so I had some knowledge of RBG already and this book served as a great addition.

In the book we get a rundown of her landmark cases, her thoughts on marriage, the cases she would overturn as well as her thoughts on the #metoo movement and so much more. It reads like a biography with some parts that are interview style, going back and forth between her and Jeffery Rosen. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who would like a good intro to the life and career of RBG.

Thank you to Netgalley and Henry Holt & Co. for providing my with this ebook for review. This in no way impacts my review. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
What a great and powerful read. I've always been more of a casual fan of RBG so I had a lot to learn. I enjoyed the way the book was written. It was engaging and easy to follow. Great book for an amazing woman!
Was this review helpful?
Ruth Bader Ginsberg IS a treasure to this country, and a personal hero of mine, and all the millions of other roles she plays in the lives of strangers she doesn't even know - that's a spectacular mantle to wear, and she does it with panache!

Conversations with RGB is a treat. Each is introduced with the background to place the conversation in context, and then the recorded session transcribed for readers now and forever to slide our benches close in, lean forward and listen, or eavesdrop maybe. I enjoyed this book, each section considering relevant topics dealt with in her years as a judge. I especially found it satisfying to see where she pinpointed authority in and from actual case cites, as a foundation for her positions and thinking.

There are tidbits about her time with the Supremes, but also her days coming up, jobs that shaped her, people and experiences that firmed her hunches, preferences and leanings into judicial wisdom. There are mentions given of her relationships, those who loved her and who she has loved by preserving, by keeping safe those valuable bonds for which one sacrifices every moment and effort: balancing, awobble, the tightrope of risk that is an entire life. Only she, RGB, has done it in public, with benefits to us that reach out to our work lives, home lives, love lives and our lives as citizens of a land in common.

Do I recommend it? 5 stars+. God Save the Queen? Sure. But first, please Save RGB, ok?

A sincere thanks to Jeffrey Rosen, Henry Holt & Company and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely love RBG, so it's no surprise that I loved this novel. Having seen all of the movies and read all of the books about her, I felt that this book still offered something new. Some of the same cases and stories were referenced, but this novel had quite the intimacy about it, and I learned even more about one of my favorite people. Go RBG!
Was this review helpful?
I’m pretty sure I’ve made my love of Ruth Bader Ginsburg abundantly clear before. So you can imagine that I jumped at the chance to read this book. 

Jeffrey Rosen first met RBG in an elevator in 1991 when he was a law clerk on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit where she was then a judge. To break the silence in the elevator, he asked her which operas she’d seen recently. This without even knowing that RBG is a huge opera fan. It was the beginning of what has developed into a long friendship. Rosen’s familiarity with Ginsburg, both personally and professionally, gives readers the feeling that we are just eavesdropping in on conversation between two people sitting at the next table

Rosen says of Ginsburg that when she was appointed to the Supreme Court, she was “viewed as a judge’s judge, a judicial minimalist, praised by conservatives (and questioned by some liberals) for her restrained approach to the judicial function. That hardly seems to fit with the woman many call the “Dissenter in Chief.” But it’s clear, through these conversations, that Ginsburg remains a judge who believes that the courts should stay out of making big statements; rather, they should rule more narrowly, sticking just with the issue at hand. I learned so much, reading this book, about how Ginsburg rules and why. It hasn’t always made her as popular with some people as she is now (feminists were not happy with her opinion that the court had ruled too broadly in Roe v. Wade, for example) but it seems every bit as measured and thoughtful as I expected it would. I also gained an appreciation for how the Supreme Court works and the interactions of the justices. Ginsburg says that, for the most part, the justices work to keep politics out of their dealings with each other (and, in theory) out of their rulings. This, and a mutual love of opera, helped Ginsburg become great friends with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a man conservatives loved. 

Rosen and Ginsburg talk a lot about the cases she has been a part of over the years, as a lawyer defending cases before the Court, as a Circuit Court judge, and as a Supreme Court justice. They talk about Roe v. Wade, the Hobby Lobby ruling, and the Citizen’s United ruling. Rosen has organized the book by subjects but I often found the same cases coming up again and again. It did get repetitive at times and I sometimes struggled to remember to which case they were referring when only the case name was referenced. My only other issue was that, sometimes, things felt a bit disjointed, as though the conversations hadn’t been edited as smoothly as they might have been. Occasionally I found myself rereading passages to understand what it was Rosen was trying to convey. 

Over her career, Ginsburg has often fought for women’s right circuitously, bringing issues to court with a male defendant. Her theory was that it would be easier to convince judges that the men deserved equal rights with the women as the reverse. In so doing, it has been her experience that women are the ones who truly gain. In this book, she talks a great deal about how laws have been made to “protect” women and what it has taken to overturn those laws.
“…my objective was to take the Court step by step to the realization in Justice Brennan’s words, that the pedestal on which some thought women were standing was all too often turned into a cage.”
“We were trying to get rid of all laws modeled on that stereotypical view of the world, that men earn the bread and women take care of the home and children.”
Going forward, Ginsburg says that to secure full equality, there need to be legal changes to the unconscious bias and work-life balance. Here’s to hoping she has many more years to help make those changes.
“Even when one is all grown up, death of a beloved parent is a loss difficult to bear. But you will honor your mother best if you carry on with your work and days, thriving in the challenges and joys of being alive. Isn’t that just what she would have willed?” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
I feel the same way about you, Justice Ginsburg!
Was this review helpful?
This is the RBG book I’ve been waiting for. My huge thanks go to Net Galley and Henry Holt Publishers for the review copy. This book will be publicly available November 5, 2019. 

Justice Ginsburg wants us to know that the sky is not falling. Though progressive thinkers see great cause for concern, primarily within the executive branch of the federal government, the U.S. Constitution hasn’t changed, and the Supreme Court, she insists, is made up entirely of strong legal minds that revere it. Precedents are still the basis of future rulings; the overturn of precedent is rare and unusual. But for activists—and she loves us—she also points out that public opinion is what alters the course of the law. Congress makes laws based on what their constituency desires. So she isn’t suggesting we put away our pussy hats and our picket signs; she just wants us to know that our advocacy works, and she appreciates everything we do to further women’s rights, civil rights, and gay rights. 

Twice previously I read other books about RBG; one is a popular biography that I enjoyed, but that didn’t go deeply enough into Ginsburg’s legal ideas, and the second is just dross, minutiae gathered from her high school year book and whatnot. Whereas part of me just wants her to write an autobiography, I have to recognize that she is very elderly, has faced health challenges lately, and to stand a chance of writing any sort of memoir, she’d probably have to resign from the Court. And goodness knows, I want her to stay there, ideally forever. Instead, Rosen’s series of interviews with this feminist icon serves nicely. 

Rosen has been friends with Justice Ginsberg for many years; they were drawn together initially through elevator discussions of opera. His chapters are brief but meaty, organized around key rulings and topical interviews. Rosen explains succinctly at the outset how this friendship formed and grew, but he doesn’t get windy or use the opportunity to aggrandize himself. He keeps the focus strictly on his subject. The interviews flow in an agreeable manner that is literate without being verbose or Byzantine. 

We live in politically polarized times, and so even when I am reading about a political figure that I admire, I generally expect my blood pressure to rise a little, perhaps in passionate agreement. But if anyone in this nation has the long view of history and the key domestic issues that have unfolded, particularly with regard to the rights of women, it is RBG. And although I am not as senior a citizen as Justice Ginsburg, many of the changes she mentions that have occurred over the decades are ones that I can also attest to, though I hadn’t thought of them in years. For example, when I came of age in the 1970s, it was still not unusual to try to enter a bar or club only to be barred at the doorway because women weren’t allowed inside. (“Gentlemen only, Ma’am. Sorry.”) I had forgotten about these things; as her recollections unspool I see that she is right. Change happens, but lasting change happens slowly. We are getting there, at least with regard to women’s rights and gay rights. Issues of race and class are something else entirely, and she points up specific instances where justice has not progressed and change is imperative.

I could say more, but none of it would be as wise or as articulate as when Ginsburg says it. If you’ve read this far in my review, you should go ahead and order this excellent book now. I highly recommend it to all that are interested in social justice, both formal and informal.
Was this review helpful?
The book's author, Jeffrey Rosen, is an American scholar and law professor who's been called "the nation's most widely read and influential legal commentator." 

Rosen first met Ruth Bader Ginsberg in an elevator in 1991, when he was a law clerk and she was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Not knowing what to say, Rosen blurted out a question about what opera Ginsburg had seen recently, and they immediately bonded over their mutual love of opera.

Afterwards, when Rosen became the legal affairs editor of the New Republic - writing about the law and the Supreme Court - he and Ginsburg began corresponding about articles he'd written and operas she'd seen. Rosen and Ginsburg have been exchanging letters, talking, and occasionally attending operas together ever since. 

Rosen interviewed Ginsburg many times, and draws from those talks for this book. 

Rosen notes that Ginsburg's approach to cases "didn't focus on abstract principles; they always focused on the real world challenges faced by individual men and women trying to define their life paths." 

As general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project from 1972 to 1980, Ginsburg's mission was to convince the Supreme Court "that legislation apparently designed to benefit or protect women could often have the opposite effect."

Ginsburg observed, "There wasn't a great understanding of gender discrimination. People knew that race discrimination was an odious thing, but there were many who thought that all the gender-based differentials in the law operated benignly in women's favor. So my objective was to take the Court step by step to the realization that the pedestal on which some thought women were standing all too often turned out to be a cage." 

To convince the Supreme Court, Ginsburg took the case of a man, which might resonate with the nine male justices. In 1975 Ginsburg represented Stephen Wiesenfeld, a computer consultant whose wife - a teacher - died during childbirth. Wiesenfeld applied for his wife's Social Security benefits, so he could work part-time and stay home with the baby. However, the law only permitted widows - not widowers - to collect special benefits, and Wiesenfeld's application was denied. 

When Ginsburg took Wiesenfeld's case to the Supreme Court she won, and the case set an example for the equal treatment of men and women. 

Ginsburg often discussed cases from "the bad old days", when the Court repeatedly upheld distinctions based on sex. For example, in 1961 a woman named Gwendolyn Hoyt killed her abusive husband, and was convicted of murder by an all-male jury. At that time, women were either not called for jury duty, or excused if they requested it, just because they were female. 

In an appeal, Hoyt's lawyer challenged the gender-based exclusion of women from the jury pool. She held that the inability to have a jury that included females - who might have argued for manslaughter rather than murder - deprived Hoyt of her rights. Hoyt lost the case. However, a fire was lit under Ginsburg and - due to her efforts - the 'opt-out' policy for women serving on juries was ruled unconstitutional in the late 1970s. 

Ginsburg's policy for chiseling away at gender discrimination continued after she was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice on August 10, 1993. 

Rosen notes, "every one of the cases she chipped away at involved a law based on the premise that men earned the money and women tended to the home and children" - legislation that Ginsburg thought was unfair. 

As evidence of Ginsburg's leanings, Rosen mentions seeing a photograph in her chambers of the justice's son-in-law gazing at his child (Ginsburg's grandson). Ginsburg told Rosen 'this is my dream for the future.' At first Rosen took it to mean something about the joys of grandchildren. He later came to realize that Ginsburg was referring to the transformation of sex roles, that fathers and mothers take equal responsibility for children. 

Ginsburg always insisted that "men and women would be truly equal only when they take equal responsibility for child rearing." This was a policy followed by Ruth and her husband Martin Ginsburg, a brilliant attorney specializing in tax law. 

In fact Ginsburg's very first hire on the Supreme Court was a male law clerk whose application said he was studying law at night because his wife - an economist - had a good job at the World Bank and he had to help take care of his two small children.

Rosen remarks, "By 1997 Ginsburg was seen as the new face of liberalism on the Supreme Court", and over the years "she has become one of the most inspiring American icons of our time and is now recognized as one of the most influential figures for constitutional change in American history." 

Asked about her favorite cases on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg cites a 1996 case that struck down the Virginia Military Institute's all-male admissions policy. This marked the climax of challenges to single-sex public schools that she'd launched with her husband in the 1970s.

Ginsburg explains that the changing views of the Supreme Court over time follow changes in society. In her view, "justices should generally defer to other decision makers (Congress, state legislatures, state courts, constitutional amendments) and should be guided by 'measured motion' - meaning they should not leap too far ahead of public opinion." Shifts in society lead to evolving decisions about gender equality, civil rights, gay marriage, and so on. 

Nevertheless, Ginsburg notes that there are times when the Court has to step ahead of the political branches - in the case of race discrimination, for instance. Ginsburg recalls, "Because there was little prospect of state legislatures dismantling segregation in the South, the Court had to step into the breach." The Court ultimately rejected Jim Crow legislation and killed the prospect of separate but equal. 

In addition to the cases I've cited above, the book includes many of Ginsburg's views about other topics, including abortion legislation, pregnancy discrimination, civil liberties, unconscious bias, life-work balance, and the importance of dissenting opinions. According to Ginsburg, "the value of dissenting opinions is in persuading future generations to correct perceived injustice." 

For example, in a 2014 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld a law that allows Hobby Lobby to deny health care coverage for women's contraceptives because of the owners' religious beliefs. Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion because Hobby Lobby, a for-profit business, employs hundreds of women who don't share those religious beliefs. 

In more recent interviews, Ginsburg talks about issues like the #MeToo movement. This crusade, in which women used newspapers, social media, and other platforms to demand respect, is an example of "how quickly social change can be produced by political activism from the ground up." Ginsburg hopes the #MeToo movement is here to stay, and that "it becomes as effective for the woman who works as a maid in a hotel as it is for Hollywood stars."

Ginsburg observes that no further legislation is needed to ensure that women are respected in the workplace. She notes, "the laws are there, the laws are in place. It takes people to step forward and use them. Women have to say this is bad behavior. You should not engage in it, and I will not submit to it." Ginsburg goes on to say, "It's easier today because there are numbers to support women who say so. We no longer hear as often as we did in the past, 'She's making it up'." 

Ginsburg also insists there should be due process for the accused. "The person who is accused has a right to defend herself or himself. Everyone deserves a fair hearing." 

Asked about her advice to men in this new regime, Ginsburg says, "Just think how you would like the women in your family to be treated, particularly your daughters." 

To the new generation of feminists who look to her as a role model, Ginsburg says, "Work for the things that you care about. Don't take no for an answer. If you have a dream, something you want to pursue, and you're willing to do the work that's necessary to make the dream come true, don't let anyone tell you, you can't do it. And you have, nowadays, many like-minded people who can join with you in opposing unfair treatment, treatment of you as less than a full citizen."

As for Ginsburg's hopes for the future, she'd like to see campaign finance reform. 

On a personal level, Ginsburg talks about her friendship with Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Antonin Scalia, and her great fondness for Chief justice William Rehnquist, who she served with for her first 12 years on the court.

Ginsburg and Scalia were philosophical opposites. In fact, Ginsburg led the Court's liberal wing while Scalia led the Court's conservative wing (until his death in 2016). Despite their differences, Ginsburg and Scalia were close friends. When they disagreed about cases, "they did so with relative equanimity because of the strength of their friendship, sustained by gourmet meals cooked by Marty Ginsberg and culminating in an annual New Year's Eve dinner at the Ginsburgs' home that often involved singing together around the piano."

An amusing offshoot of the Ginsburg-Scalia friendship is a comic opera called Scalia/Ginsburg written by Derrick Wang - a writer, librettist, and composer who attended the University of Maryland law school. 

The opera "celebrates the virtues of the court through an affectionate, comic look at the unofficial leaders of its conservative and liberal wings." 

Ginsburg is amazed at her transformation into a judicial celebrity, especially when she became an internet sensation and then an American icon. In 2013 Shana Knizhnik, an NYU law student, created the Tumblr blog 'Notorious R.B.G', and afterwards wrote a book called 'Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.' 

Khizhnik was inspired by the justice "because Ginsburg defies stereotypes. She is a grandmother, but she shows so much strength, and she is who she is without apology." To add to her mystique, Ginburg works out regularly with a trainer, whom she shares with Justice Elena Kagan. 

Ginsburg's fame inspired all manner of RBG merchandise, especially sweatshirts and tee shirts. 

On a light note, Ginsburg observed that Chief Justice Rehnquist added four gold stripes to each sleeve of his black robe in 1995. To explain the uptick in sartorial splendor, Rehnquist admitted "he did not wish to be upstaged by the women." (Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg always wore attractive neckpieces.)

In his acknowledgements Rosen writes a moving tribute to his mother Estelle Rosen, and says about Ginsburg: "Justice Ginsberg is an inspiration on so many levels, including how to live a good life - a life of disciplined focus and self-mastery, dedicated to the welfare of others. Thanks to her efforts as a pathbreaking advocate, judge, and Supreme Court justice, she is a personal and constitutional hero." 

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Jeffrey Rosen), and the publisher (Henry Holt and Co.) for a copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
Jeffrey Rosen's interviews with Ruth Bader Ginsburg are captured in Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law and provide a sense of who Ginsburg is both inside and outside of the court. Considering that Rosen and Ginsburg have known each other since 1991, their friendship and deep respect come through in the text. Organized by theme, the reader gets a sense of how Ginsburg feels about various social issues that have reached the court circuits in the past and present.

I enjoyed Rosen's chapter introductions and felt that they helped contextualize the interviews. The description of the cases mentioned by Ginsburg was also helpful since I was not familiar with some of them. As a whole, the book felt like a great introductory primer told in Ginsburg's own words, covering the work that she has done throughout her judicial career.

However, there's repetition between chapters since some of the same cases cover adjacent themes. Additionally, if you're familiar with Ginsburg this doesn't really introduce anything shocking or revolutionary.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, but just wished for more.
Was this review helpful?
Like many people, I only really started paying attention to politics in the past few years. I knew that Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) was an important figure, but never really looked further into it. When she needed surgery and people were clamoring to offer their blood and organs, whatever she needed, I figured I should read up on her. Fortunately this book became available and I took the opportunity to educate myself. I'm very glad I did. 

This is neither a full biography nor a full case list. This has biographical elements but focuses on major past cases and how they influence current cases. It's also a lot of RBG discussing her hopes for the future. Honestly, the fact that she still has hope for the future does wonders for my overall anxiety about the world. She has an amazing approach to equal gender rights that she modeled off Thurgood Marshall's approach to equal rights for minorities. Incremental, showing those in power how these rules hurt them, and genuinely going for equality. 

At first I was surprised to find someone who had promoted equality was subject to scorn from feminist groups. I took every chapter, every interview question on that, as a lesson in reading past the headlines. I think that should be the message with almost every Supreme Court Justice. It's so very easy to get caught up in the headlines and following the rage. But in this day and age, we need to do ourselves a favor and read more, get the full story, and reserve our torches and pitchforks for the truly important things. She criticized Roe v Wade because it was, essentially, a legislation forced to walk around on stilts with no training. She was correct in predicting this would lead to all of the many, many, many challenges it has received since. This was quite the legislative history lesson for me. I'll never go back.

RBG is truly an interesting character and her relationship with the other Justices is a wonderful example for disagreeing without it coming to blows. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and will be picking up more books about the Justices. 4 hoots!
Was this review helpful?
This was a little dry in my opinion. I wouldn't be running out to but it, even though I have a great fondness for RBG. It is well researched, but not my style.
Was this review helpful?
Wonderful title.  I've heard of the "legend" but I don't keep up with the political realm.  What an enlightening and powerful title.  I learned so much, not only about this fabulous lady, but about the policies which rule our world.  I can't wait to add it to our collection.  It is a must-read!
Was this review helpful?