Movies & TV

Felicity Jones is "Flaming Feminist Litigator" Ruth Bader Ginsburg in New Biopic

Here's another female Supreme Court Justice we can get behind.
IMAGE Focus Features

Felicity Jones is about to go from thwarting Vader to playing Bader. Now that we've gotten that ill-advised Star Wars pun off our chests—sorry, hijo; couldn't help it—here's the first trailer for On The Basis of Sex, a biopic directed by Mimi Leder (Pay it Forward) about the self-described "flaming feminist litigator" Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

A brief background on the woman nicknamed "The Notorious RBG": Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman to be appointed justice of the United States Supreme Court. Earlier in her life, Bader-Ginsburg graduated first in her class at Cornell University, and then went on to take up law at Harvard, and then Columbia. As she made her way through a male-dominated field, Ginsburg routinely encountered gender discrimination.

After clerking for a district judge, Ginsburg taught at Rutgers University Law and then at Columbia, where she became the school's first female tenured professor. As a lawyer, Ginsburg became the director of the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, for which she argued six landmark cases on gender equality.

Among these cases was one that concerned a widower who was denied Social Security benefits after his wife, who was the family's breadwinner, passed away. At the time, those benefits would have easily been granted to a wife whose husband passed away, but not the other way around. So Ginsburg argued that while that particular law benefitted women, it was nevertheless based on outdated presumptions about gender roles. Such laws, she said, were based on a gender line that "helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage." It was, effectively, a feminist argument for gender-blind legislation, and Ginsburg won. This is likely the case being referred to in the On The Basis of Sex trailer.


Ginsburg continues to serve as Supreme Court Justice and is considered to be a part of its liberal bloc. She was instrumental in the historic rulings for the Affordable Care Act and for same-sex marriage. She's also a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement. Throughout her career, Ginsburg has championed gender equality, and as such has become something of a feminist icon today.

On The Basis of Sex premieres later in 2018, to commemorate Ginsburg's 25th year in the Supreme Court.

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