Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Reflects On The #MeToo Movement: 'It's About Time' Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat down with NPR's Nina Totenberg at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday where she discussed her thoughts on the #MeToo movement.
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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Reflects On The #MeToo Movement: 'It's About Time'

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Reflects On The #MeToo Movement: 'It's About Time'

Law

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Reflects On The #MeToo Movement: 'It's About Time'

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Sundance Film Festival has in some ways become a forum for more than film. This year, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was there promoting a documentary that she's appearing in. But when she spoke to NPR's Nina Totenberg on a stage at Sundance, the conversation broadened.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: The occasion for Ginsburg being here is the premiere of a CNN documentary film about her life and her role as a young lawyer who became the architect of the legal fight for women's rights. The phrase sexual harassment was unknown in those days, so I asked Ginsburg if she had ever experienced inappropriate sexual conduct. Oh, yes, she answered, lots of times.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: The attitude to sexual harassment was simply get past it. Boys will be boys.

TOTENBERG: As a personal example, she cited her experience with a chemistry professor when she was an undergraduate student at Cornell and was worried about what she called her abilities as a chemistry student. And her professor offered to give her a practice exam.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GINSBURG: So he gave me a practice exam. The next day on the test, the test is the practice exam, and I knew exactly what he wanted in return.

TOTENBERG: What did you do about the professor? Did you just stay clear of him? What did you do?

GINSBURG: I went to his office, and I said, how dare you? How dare you do this?

(APPLAUSE)

GINSBURG: And that was the end of that.

(LAUGHTER)

TOTENBERG: I assume you did quite well on that exam.

(LAUGHTER)

GINSBURG: And I deliberately made two mistakes.

(LAUGHTER)

TOTENBERG: I ask Ginsburg what her thoughts are about the #MeToo movement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GINSBURG: Well, I think it's about time. And...

(APPLAUSE)

GINSBURG: ...For so long, women were silent, thinking there was nothing you could do about it. But now, the law is on the side of women or men who encounter harassment.

TOTENBERG: And does she worry about a backlash?

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GINSBURG: When I see women appearing every place in numbers, I'm less worried about backlash than I might have been 20 years ago.

TOTENBERG: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Sundance Film Festival.

Nina Totenberg, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF JEFRE CANTU-LEDESMA'S "THE STREETS ARE FILLED WITH RAIN")

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