Home Celebrity How the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a pop culture icon

How the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a pop culture icon


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at 87 from metastatic pancreatic cancer, became a pop culture icon — thanks, in part, to her fiery dissents on the bench.

Her impassioned disagreement of the court’s decision in 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision sparked the “Notorious R.B.G.” Tumblr page and meme — comparing Ginsburg to rapper Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G.

The nickname spawned a slew of merch, including “RBG” Halloween costumes, coffee mugs, T-shirts, tattoos, children’s books and so-called “dissent collar” necklaces mirroring the flashy neckwear Ginsburg donned to jazz up her black robes.

She admitted in 2016 to having “quite a large supply” of “Notorious R.B.G.” T-shirts, which she said she gave out as gifts.

In 2015, lawyer Shana Knizhnik and MSNBC reporter Irin Carmon turned the “Notorious R.B.G.” blog into a New York Times-bestselling book titled “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

That year, Kate McKinnon began portraying the Brooklyn-born jurist on “Saturday Night Live,” in what would soon become one of the most popular impressions on the show.

The outspoken octogenarian was the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018.

She also got the Hollywood treatment in the well-received 2018 biopic “On The Basis Of Sex,” starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer. The movie follows Ginsburg’s career and her trailblazing fight for equal rights.

She was even turned into a mini Lego figurine, shown in a brief segment in “The Lego Movie 2.”

Ginsburg addressed her notorious nickname in a 2014 Yahoo News interview with Katie Couric — calling the moniker “a wonderful thing.”

“I had to be told by my law clerks, ‘what’s this notorious?’” Ginsburg said, “and they explained that to me.”

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