Learning Resources

Remembering the Notorious RBG

How Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg broke down barriers and inspired the next generation of women who lead ...

The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, affectionately known to millions (especially law students and history teachers) as The Notorious RBG, is filled with both sorrow and resolve. In these uncertain times, as our country continues to feel the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, polarizing political fights over wearing masks, reopening schools and who/what we teach in history classes in our nation's public schools, we must all pause in this moment and think about Justice Ginsburg's final request:

“My Most Fervent Wish Is That I Not Be Replaced Until a New President Is Installed.”


In her final moments, Justice Ginsburg was still thinking about what is just, what is fair, and what is best for our nation, as well as how her own service and the Supreme Court's legacy will be preserved. How young women looked up to her as a source of inspiration and a role model. In this time, we offer a few brief excerpts in the form of a Bunk Collection, some favorite BackStory episodes and other content which might help teachers and students think about the life and legacy of a remarkable American icon.

How did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg earn her nickname, the Notorious RBG? It is not surprising that when it first appeared as a meme and later a blog started by two law students in 2013, she was both in on the joke and she approved!

In these episodes from the BackStory archives, the legacy of Justice Ruth Ginsburg and the Supreme Court are part of the larger conversation on checks and balance, separation of powers and civil rights. In Above the Fray, the need for the court to remain above partisan politics is examined, and in light of the passing of Justice Ginsburg and almost immediate media frenzy over court packing and appointing justices during an election year, with much welcomed historical analysis.

This episode of BackStory traces the history of the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona, and features a segment entitled, "Beyond the Bench," where Ruth Bader Ginsburg's efforts to combat sex discrimination were also lauded as ways she and the courts advocated for civil rights as well.

This video excerpt of Justice Ginsburg's Supreme Court nomination hearings explains her distinction in using the term Gender Equity vs. Sex Discrimination.

Did you know Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a music fan? Her nickname, "Notorious RBG," inspired rap song parodies, comedy skits and an album of opera music recorded by her own son and daughter in law! She even has her own Spotify playlist! What kind of TikTok or FlipGrid videos would you create, or what songs would you add to a Spotify playlist based on Ginsburg's life and work as a feminist icon and civil rights/gender equality advocate? Create your own RBG video or playlist and share it with us via social media @newamericanhist if your teacher or parents allow.

We hope teachers and students will find these resources useful, and if you do create your own videos, playlists, Bunk Collections, Assignments or even just Share Connections, we would love to hear about it! You may share your links with us via social media @newamericanhist if your teacher or parents allow.

This work by New American History is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at newamericanhistory.org.

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