The recently released film biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, On The Basis of Sex, provides the latest example of pop culture’s infatuation with the leader of the court’s liberal contingent, who will turn 86 in March.
That infatuation began with the independent biopic, RBG. Ginsburg played along with her newfound hip status by distributing “Notorious RBG” T-shirts.
When Ginsburg was hospitalized after breaking three ribs during a fall in November, various celebrities took to Twitter to offer their ribs and other vital organs. On his late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel even humorously offered to provide Ginsburg with a large plastic bubble — after proclaiming that “for obvious reasons,” she “must be protected at any cost.”
What are those “obvious reasons”? Why, the election of President Donald Trump, of course. But why would celebrities be so concerned with the health of an elderly, chronically ill justice whom they never met?
Simple. Those celebrities share Ginsburg’s radical political values, which define the Left’s obsession with “social justice” and “equality” — and which she expressed more than 40 years ago in a seminal legal analysis.
As a law professor at Columbia in 1977, Ginsburg teamed with fellow feminist lawyer Brenda Feigen-Fasteau to compose Sex Bias in U.S. Code for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. The basis for that report was a similar work the two feminists produced in 1974, The Legal Status of Women under Federal Law. Both reports recommended changes to the federal code to eliminate possible discrimination against women.
But many recommendations had nothing to do with increasing opportunities for women. Rather, Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau sought to dictate social conditions that would obliterate legitimate distinctions between the sexes. The result would be a utopian egalitarianism justified by what Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau called “the equal rights principle.”
“The equal rights principle looks toward a world in which men and women function as full and equal partners, with artificial barriers removed and opportunity unaffected by a person’s gender,” their report stated. “Preparation for such a world requires elimination of sex separation in all public institutions where education and training occur. While the personal privacy principle permits maintenance of separate sleeping and bathing facilities, no other facilities, e.g., work, school, or cafeteria, should be maintained for one sex only.”
The key to implementing that principle involved rewriting federal code to displace all gender-specific language, including pronouns, with neutered terms. Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau recommended replacing such terms as “manpower” with “human resources,” “chairman” with “chairperson” and “fraternity and sorority chapters” with “social societies,” and advocated using “he/she,” “hers/his” and “her/him” for third-person singular pronouns — even to the point of using “plural constructions” to avoid such pronouns.
“Although no substantive differential may be generated by 1 U.S.C. §1r the current drafting scheme suggests a society in which men are (and ought to be) the dominant participants,” the report said while referring to the section dealing with terminology. “Revision of 1 U.S.C. §1 is recommended to reflect in form as well as substance the equal status of women and men before the law. A new subsection also is proposed, 1 U.S.C. §106(c), instructing drafters to use sex-neutral terminology in all Federal legislative texts.” (parenthesis in original)
As a result, rewritten federal law could be used to abolish single-sex institutions — ranging from prisons to such youth groups as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Regarding prisons and penal facilities for juveniles, Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau wrote that inmates of both sexes should be housed in the same facility.
“Sex-segregated adult or juvenile institutions are obviously separate, and in a variety of ways, unequal,” their report stated. “Differences in training programs, distance from cities and relatives, work-release programs, educational opportunities, security, and other conditions redound to the benefit of men in some instances and women in others. If the grand design of such institutions is to prepare inmates for return to the community as persons equipped to benefit from and contribute to civil society, then perpetuation of single-sex institutions should be rejected.”
Such rejection extends to sexually segregated groups that “furnish educational, financial, social and other assistance to their young members,” stated the report, which specified the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Future Farmers of America, Boys’ Clubs of America, Big Brothers of America and the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
“The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, while ostensibly providing ‘separate but equal’ benefits to both sexes, perpetuate stereotyped sex roles to the extent that they carry out congressionally-mandated purposes,” the report stated. “36 U.S.C. §23 defines the purpose of the Boy Scouts as the promotion of ‘…the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues….’
“The purpose of the Girl Scouts, on the other hand, is ‘…to promote the qualities of truth, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courtesy, purity, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, and kindred virtues among girls, as a preparation for their responsibilities in the home and for service to the community….’ “
The report advocated integrating the other four groups mentioned because they had no counterparts for girls and they “provide valuable training and social activity not readily obtainable elsewhere to female children and adolescents,” the report stated.
Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau’s agenda also meant fundamentally redefining roles within the family.
“Congress and the President should direct their attention to the concept that pervades the Code: that the adult world is (and should be) divided into two classes — independent men, whose primary responsibility is to win bread for a family and dependent women, whose primary responsibility is to care for children and household,” the report stated. “This concept must be eliminated from the Code if it is to reflect the equality principle.” (parentheses in original, emphasis added)
Increasing numbers of women joining the work force also “should impel development of a comprehensive program of government-supported child care,” the report stated. Redefining family roles and providing government-supported child care reflect Marxist ideas that Leon Trotsky reiterated in his book, The Revolution Betrayed, which criticized Stalin’s policies.
“The place of the family as a shut-in petty enterprise was to be occupied, according to the plans, by a finished system of social care and accommodation: maternity houses, crèches, kindergartens, schools, social dining rooms, social laundries, first-aid stations, hospitals, sanatoria, athletic organizations, moving-picture theaters, etc.,” Trotsky wrote. “The complete absorption of the housekeeping functions of the family by institutions of the socialist society, uniting all generations in solidarity and mutual aid, was to bring to woman, and thereby to the loving couple, a real liberation from the thousand-year-old fetters.”
The kind of adult liberation Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau envisioned would increase risks for young women. The two feminists viewed the language of the Mann Act, passed in 1910 to prohibit commercially transporting “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose,” as insulting to women while reinforcing stereotypical views.
“The Mann Act also is offensive because of the image of women it perpetuates,” the report stated. “It was meant to protect from ‘the villainous interstate and international traffic in women and girls,’ ‘those women and girls who, if given a fair chance, would, in all human probability, have been good wives and mothers and useful citizens.’ “
The 1977 report also stated that “prostitution, as a consensual act between adults, is arguably within the zone of privacy protected by recent constitutional decisions.” That assessment provided a stark contrast with this statement from Ginsburg’s and Feigen-Fasteau’s 1974 work: “To eradicate sex-based discrimination in the catalogue of crimes, prostitution should be de-criminalized … laws classifying or referring to prostitution or solicitation by or on behalf of a prostitute should be repealed….”
Three years before preparing Sex Bias in U.S. Code, Ginsburg implied in a speech to Phi Beta Kappa that reverse discrimination would be necessary to open professional opportunities for women in male-dominated fields.
“First, does affirmative action required by anti-discrimination laws imply reverse discrimination?” Ginsburg rhetorically asked in 1974. “As to affirmative action, discrimination in the job market has been the traditional pattern discrimination in favor of white males, and sometimes a narrower subspecies of that broad class. That pattern, of course, must be terminated.”
Ginsburg used what she called a “not so hypothetical” example: Female police officers who seek to become sergeants could not take the necessary examination because women have been barred from patrol duty, a necessary prerequisite.
“But when an employer traditionally has acted on the basis of a gender characteristic, by hiring only males, gender must be taken into account in order to undo what has been done,” Ginsburg said. “Otherwise, the effects of past discrimination will be perpetuated long into the future.”
President Bill Clinton appointed Ginsburg to the Supreme Court in 1993 and the Senate confirmed her, 96-3.
During her quarter century on the bench, Ginsburg made a profound impact. Most of today’s controversies concerning diversity, gender confusion and human trafficking result directly from the radical egalitarianism she espouses — and which pop culture’s elites unquestioningly embrace.