Supreme Court justices are generally robed and mysterious figures. Their faces are not emblazoned on T-shirts, painted on fingernails, tattooed on arms and shoulders, and their characters are not parodied on TV programs ranging from Saturday Night Live to Scandal. At least not until Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a cultural icon at about the same time she turned 80. Much of that iconic status is attributed to a Tumblr called “Notorious R.B.G.,” which now has been transformed into a graphic nonfiction book due out Tuesday.
Enraged by the Supreme Court ruling in 2012 that gutted the Voting Rights Act, Shana Knizhnik created an online tribute for the equally furious dissenter in that case: Justice Ginsburg. The “Notorious R.B.G.” Tumblr took off like a bobsled on ice.
Soon Ginsburg heard about the Tumblr. She laughingly explained in an interview with this reporter that one of her law clerks told her about it. The clerk, she added, “also explained to me what ‘Notorious R.B.G.’ was a parody on.” Giggling while telling the story, she continued, “Well, my grandchildren love it, and I try to keep abreast of what’s on the Tumblr.”
Photos: Dey Street Books