On The Basis Of Sex – What Was True and What Was Fiction?

ruth bader ginsburg in on the basis of sex movie
The real deal: the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself.

As most moviegoers know, Hollywood loves to take an historical event and turn it into a parody of itself. Inasmuch as I loved the movie Braveheart, Mel must have not read many books about William Wallace. Timelines were rearranged to fit the script…which is sad, because the actual timeline was such a big part of the history of Scotland. But I digress.

 
I’m not an expert on Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), but after researching about this Supreme Court Justice for On The Basis Of Sex, I can pick out some of the facts from some of the bio-pic movie’s embellishments.  
 

Here are some of the actual facts v fiction from On The Basis Of Sex: 


 
  • Ruth didn’t actually go to Marty’s classes for him; instead she did collect notes from his friends, and typed his essays as he dictated them to her.
  • While the legal side of the Moritz case is accurate, Ruth did not meet with him in Denver. RBG herself, states that she and Marty met Charles Moritz for the first time, face to face, in the fall of 1971.
 
  • Jim Bozarth did not approach the Pentagon for help in developing Appendix E, although another member of the Department of Justice team did.
 
  • There was no “moot court” at RBG’s apartment. And Ruth never lost her cool, ever. 
 
  • Melvin Wulf was never skeptical about ‘Women’s Rights’ — actually, he was on board in just a few days. He never called Ruth a shrew and did not ask if ‘it would kill her’ to smile. By all accounts, Melvin and Ruth had a good relationship. Wulf never pushed her to write the brief for Reed v. Reed: Ruth volunteered.
  • Dorothy Kenyan and Pauli Murray were not co-authors of the brief, instead, this was intended as an acknowledgement of their paving the way for RBG’s argument. At one time, Jane Ginsburg, daughter of Ruth, stated her mother never met with Kenyon, and Murray never came to their home to prepare for the oral argument.

There may have been other liberties taken, but I think I’ve covered the big noticeable ones.

So, no matter how you slice it, dice it, or make julienne fries, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the most remarkable women in history, alongside the likes of Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, and Margaret Thatcher.

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Movie Review – On the Basis of Sex

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