Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is having a moment. For the past couple of years, she's transcended her role on the Court, becoming a liberal pop culture icon.
Now, her story is being told yet again, in a new film starring Felicity Jones.
On the Basis of Sex is inspired by the story of a young Ginsburg, plowing through law school as one of only nine women in her Harvard class. Despite a stellar academic career, she couldn't find a job after graduating. So instead of starting her career in the courtroom, she went to the classroom, teaching at Rutgers University with a focus on sex discrimination law.
The film is directed by Mimi Leder, and she joined Felicity Jones to speak with Morning Edition host Rachel Martin.
Jones on preparing for the role
Initially, I was very very intimidated. It's nerve wracking playing such a beloved woman, and I, myself, am a huge fan of her. But I had to put the fandom away, and play the truth of this woman's experience, and really get into the mind of who this woman was when she was younger, when she was much more, in many respects, open to the world and show how does someone get to that position.
Leder on the tax law case at the center of the movie
[Marty Ginsburg] brings her this case. First of all, she didn't teach tax cases. She never even read them ... He was the tax lawyer and became one of the preeminent tax attorneys in our country. So, it's a case about a man who is a caregiver, who files for a tax deduction ... and is denied the tax deduction because he is a never-married man. And in those days the law read that only a woman is in the home, and only a widower can receive this tax deduction.
So they used this man, Charles Moritz, to argue gender discrimination, and they won this tax case, and what it did was it overturned 178 different laws that discriminated on the basis of sex and were found unconstitutional.