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Ruth Bader Ginsburg digs that whole Notorious R.B.G. thing

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’ss enjoying her Internet fame. (2013 Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

Only on the Internet can an 81-year-old Supreme Court justice, share a nickname with the greatest rapper of all time.  Yep, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is Notorious R.B.G. on the internet, ya heard?  And, yes, she digs it.  Who wouldn’t?!

In a Yahoo News exclusive with Katie Couric, Ginsburg, whose recent dissent in the Hobby Lobby case pushed her Internet fame to new levels, said she is getting a kick out of her pop culture status.

“Most of it I think is very funny. There is a rap song, and there is one using the words from the Hobby Lobby dissent.  I haven’t seen anything that isn’t either pleasing or funny on the Web site,” the justice said, adding that she likes the Notorious R.B.G. meme.  “I think she has created a wonderful thing with Notorious R.B.G. I will admit I had to be told by my law clerks, what’s this Notorious, and they explained that to me, but the Web site is something I enjoy, all of my family do.”

Here are a few more takeaways from the full 22-minute interview (video below):

On her Hobby Lobby dissent: “Contraceptive protection is something that every woman must have access to, to control her own destiny,” Ginsburg said. “I certainly respect the belief of the Hobby Lobby owners. On the other hand, they have no constitutional right to foist that belief on the hundreds and hundreds of women who work for them, who don’t share that belief.  I had never seen the free exercise of religion clause interpreted in such a way.”

Ginsburg said that in Hobby Lobby, some of her male colleagues had a blind spot when it comes to women, but she said that could shift.

“Justices continue to think and can change, so I am every hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow,” she said. “They have wives, they have daughters. By the way, I think daughters can change the perception of their fathers.”

At 81, Ginsburg has been the subject of retirement rumors, but she said she is “still here and likely to remain for a while.”

“Because I didn’t step down this last year, there’s not much talk about it.  People know that I’m here to stay… I will do this job, as long as I can do it full steam,” Ginsburg said. “When I feel myself slipping, when I can no longer think as sharply, or write as quickly, that will be the time for me to leave the court.”



Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.

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