Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday, at the age of 87. Others have written about her life and work and person thoroughly and thoughtfully and beautifully — I urge you to read the New York Times obituary in the link above, and this piece by her dear friend Nina Totenberg of NPR for a full picture of what an amazing person she was. (Have tissues at the ready, though, both pieces are gut-punchers.)
Her lifelong fight for equal rights was instilled in her at a young age, inspired by a mother who was lost much too young:
Celia Bader was an intellectually ambitious woman who graduated from high school at 15 but had not been able to go to college; her family sent her to work in Manhattan’s garment district so her brother could attend Cornell University. She had high ambitions for her daughter but did not live to see them fulfilled. She was found to have cervical cancer when Ruth was a freshman at James Madison High School, and she died at the age of 47 in 1950, on the day before her daughter’s high school graduation. After the graduation ceremony that Ruth was unable to attend, her teachers brought her many medals and awards to the house.
On June 14, 1993, when Judge Ginsburg stood with Mr. Clinton in the Rose Garden for the announcement of her Supreme Court nomination, she brought tears to the president’s eyes with a tribute to her mother. “I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons,” she said.
But what I hope you take away from her work was not just that she fought for women’s equal rights, which she did, perhaps more fiercely than any American before her — but that her lifelong work was in pursuit of genuine gender equality, that no gender be constricted by society’s and government’s suppositions, myths, and constraints. She fought as equally hard for a woman’s right to work in the field of her choosing and for equal pay as she did for a man’s right to collect Social Security benefits after his wife died, or for recognition of a man’s parental rights.
Wendy W. Williams, an emeritus professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and Justice Ginsburg’s authorized biographer, wrote in a 2013 article that Ms. Ginsburg’s litigation campaign succeeded in “targeting, laserlike, the complex and pervasive legal framework that treated women as yin and men as yang, and either rewarded them for their compliance with sex-appropriate role behavior or penalized them for deviation from it.”
Professor Williams continued: “She saw that male and female were viewed in law and beyond as a natural duality — polar opposites interconnected and interdependent by nature or divine design — and she understood that you couldn’t untie one half of that knot.” Male plaintiffs were thus essential to the project of dismantling what Justice Ginsburg referred to as “sex-role pigeonholing.” Sex discrimination hurt both men and women, and both stood to be liberated by Ruth Ginsburg’s vision of sex equality.
Prof. Neil S. Siegel of Duke Law School described that vision as one of “equal citizenship stature.” A former Ginsburg law clerk, he described in a 2009 article a moment when “an adoring female visitor to chambers once remarked to Justice Ginsburg that her ‘feminist’ girlfriends just loved the justice for what she had done for American women.” According to Professor Siegel, “the justice replied to the effect that she hoped the visitor’s male friends loved her as well.”
Justice Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, and at the Capitol on Friday. She will be laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery.
One of the many reasons Justice Ginsburg’s death hits so hard, of course, are the political implications. Her death opens another Supreme Court seat for the Republicans to fill — exactly the scenario that had filled Democrats’ hearts with icy fear since before the 2016 election and after Mitch McConnell’s cynical refusal to hold hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, following Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden death that same year.
The excuse at the time was that it was an election year and the voters should choose who would fill Scalia’s seat — even though there were still 11 months until the inauguration of a new president. Now, four months before another inauguration, and while people are actually voting in six states today, seven tomorrow and nine by the end of the week, suddenly it’s VERY IMPORTANT that the vacancy be filled with exactly no input from the voters, according to the shameless hypocrites in the GOP.
GOP Senator, thy name is hypocrite. pic.twitter.com/cfJjefGWDi
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) September 21, 2020
I bring no good news and very little hope today.
The ghouls on the right have been licking their chops over RBG’s seat since November 9, 2016, and now that she’s gone, there is no way they are going to let this opportunity pass them by, RBG’s final wishes or no.
Days before her death, as her strength waned, #RBG dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a newPresident is installed." She knew what was to come. https://t.co/5eNtyhbb2k
— Nina Totenberg (@NinaTotenberg) September 19, 2020
Yes, there are two Senators who have said they will not vote on a nominee before the election — Senators Collins and Murkowski — and it’s possible there might be two more Senators who find it morally repugnant to vote on a nominee a month before an election, making the four needed to block a vote. Romney? Gardner? Grassley? Maybe. But when you’re pinning your hopes on four Republicans to do the right thing, you might as well be making wishes on dandelions.
And then there’s the caveat in Senators Collins and Murkowski’s statements — they won’t vote on a nominee before Election Day. That still leaves nearly 80 days of a lame-duck session for Senator Turtle and his cronies to push through a nominee even if Joe Biden wins on November 3. While there are some fantasy scenarios in which Mark Kelly wins in Arizona and is sworn in on November 30 (because he’d be replacing an appointed, not elected, Senator) and blocks a vote with the help of three ethical Republicans — again, we’re pinning our hopes on an oxymoron: ethical Republicans.
The bottom line is, the GOP is going to get their nominee, one way or another, and even if it ultimately costs them the White House and control of the Senate. It’s worth it to them, with so many of their pet causes on the line including dismantling the ACA, reversing Roe v. Wade, continuing to wear down voting rights, and cementing gun rights. (And don’t get me started on the literal nightmare scenario in which the election itself is challenged and the Supreme Court has to get involved.)
As for what we, on the other side can do? The bottom line is vote and FLIP THE SENATE. I don’t know what happens in the next four months, but absolutely nothing good will happen if the Senate remains in the control of the GOP. And while voting forty-three days (or 22 days for me … or right now for many people out there) won’t get us out of this specific McConnell mess, we will at least be able to start cleaning it up come January. But we have to vote the fuckers out first.
So please, I am begging you now: vote, volunteer, donate, call your Senators (or use this handy bot to contact your Senators: “Text ‘RBG’ to 50409. Resistbot will send a letter from you to your Senators asking them not to confirm a new justice until after the inauguration.” It costs nothing and is super easy to use), protest, talk to your friends and family, scream on social media, fight. Fight for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the way she spent her life fighting for all of us.
All Other TV News
We are going to tackle the Emmys in its own post — when it will be published remains A MYSTERY! (Hopefully later today, but maybe not until tomorrow).
Before we get to last night’s prizes, let’s go over the fifth and final night of the Creative Arts Emmys, some of which I had opinions about when the nominees were announced in July:
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Eddie Murphy won this for his hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, and this is a kind of amazing fact: this is Murphy’s first Emmy. What? How? What?
… while I think Eddie Murphy or Adam Driver might actually deserve this, I fully expect this to be a sentimental win and go to Fred Willard.
Who Will Win: Fred Willard
Who Should Win: Eddie Murphy
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program
With the exception of Shark Tank, all of these hosts are so charming, so delightful, it’s hard for me to choose a favorite. Genuinely. I will be happy so long as Shark Tank doesn’t win.
Who Will Win: Queer Eye
Who Should Win: Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
New rule: If you’re nominated twice in the same category, you win the Emmy. Give Maya the Emmy. Yes, Angela Basset was AMAZING as the “Baddest Bitch” (which God knows she actually is, praise be) and there might be some impulse to give it to Bette Midler because Bette Midler, but GODDAMN IT, GIVE IT TO MAYA RUDOLPH.
Who Will Win: Angela Bassett
Who Should Win: Maya Rudolph
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Ron Cephas Jones won for This is Us, and onthe same night, his daughter, Jasmine Cephas Jones, won an Emmy for her work on Quibi’s #FreeRayshawn, marking the first time a father and daughter have won Emmys in the same year.
Additionally, there was a technical glitch when this category was announced: though the title card announced Jones as the winner, a pre-recorded voice began to announce Jason Bateman as the winner. Whoops.
Who Will Win: I don’t know, Martin Short?
Who Should Win: Jason Bateman (He was really good and terrifying in this.)
Yeah, I really thought I called Jones for this one. Boy, I’m bad a t this.
Outstanding Television Movie
Bad Education won this one which was not much of a surprise as it didn’t have much competition. (Speaking of this category, here’s a good piece on what the hell a TV movie even is anymore if many of the streaming services are putting them in competition for Oscars, not Emmys).
Eh. I don’t actually feel strongly about any of these, if I’m being completely honest. My guess is the Academy goes with the “important” movie and rewards American Son, but Bad Education is chock full of actors who are Emmy bait. It really is just about anyone’s guess.
Who Will Win: American Son
Who Should Win: El Camino
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Cherry Jones won for her role on Succession, and rightfully so.
Here, I would suggest that the Academy will lean towards rewarding a legend for her performance on a show that ended this year. Not that Cicely Tyson doesn’t deserve an Emmy for her performance as Analise’s mother on How to Get Away with Murder — she’s great. But for performances by a legend in a mother role, I’d go with Phylicia Rashad, myself.
Who Will Win: Cicely Tyson
Who Should Win: Phylicia Rashad
Outstanding Documentary or Non Fiction Series
To no one’s surprise, The Last Dance won, giving Michael Jordan his first Emmy. Also, it meant Tiger King was completely shut out, which comes as a surprise to those who think the Emmys are a popularity contest instead of the prestige contest its members intend it to be.
This is the first time I’ve written about this category, but considering Tiger King is maybe the biggest TV story of 2019 that is not COVID-related, it’s worth discussing. So here’s the thing, there’s no chance Tiger King is going to win. NO. CHANCE. While most Americans might want Tiger King to win, it’s not the kind of project the Academy is going to reward, it’s just too trashy. This is Last Dance‘s year, the end. (McMillion$ was also great, but it’s not going to win, either, as it contains zero famous people.)
Who Will Win: The Last Dance
Who Should Win: The Last Dance
Outstanding Animated Program
And here’s where I contradict myself moments later, because Rick & Morty won Outstanding Animated Program, beating out critical darling and now ended Bojack Horseman. So what do I know? I didn’t cover this category, but if I had, I would have bet on Bojack. All in on Bojack.
Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
Cheer won this, the same week that star Jerry Harris was arrested for child pornography. Yikes. I should note that I did not cover this category, but if I had, I would have chosen Cheer, with a nod to HBO’s We’re Here.
Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones won all three of these categories, and Chappelle responded with a “fuck you” to his critics, literally.
“I mean, I read all the reviews and they said so many terrible things. They were embarrassed for me; I had lost my way, it wasn’t even worth watching—I hope all you critics learn from this. This is a teachable moment. Shut the fuck up, forever.”
And, yeah, no? No one is immune to criticism, no matter how many trophies they take home. If anything, the more prizes you win, the more you should be subject to scrutiny. But congratulations, I guess?
Check out the rest of the winners here — there are a lot of them.
Like I said, more Emmy stuff forthcoming. If not today, sometime tomorrow. Because I’m lazy.
The Ellen Degeneres Show is back and Ellen addressed the toxic workplace accusations and apologized. “As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic environment here at our show. And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people who were affected.”
As to how we arrived here, E! has a whole timeline to remind you.
Cousin Greg says Succession should resume production in a few months and we could have a new season sometime next year.
Carole Baskin’s former husband’s family says they’ve received some legitimate tips about his disappearance thanks to that shady commercial they aired during Dancing With the Stars.
Wait, there’s a Walking Dead anthology series in the works, too? SINCE WHEN?
America Ferrera will be sticking around Superstore a bit longer than we previously thought.
- It sounds like The Dark Crystal: Age of the Resistance has been canceled at Netflix after one season.
- I’m in Love With the Dancer From My Bat Mitzvah is being developed at The CW.
- Lewisburg, a semi-autobiographical drama based on the life of actor Gbenga Akinnagbe, is being developed at NBC.
- The Hunt For Atlantis has been acquired by Netflix.
- The bast thing on What We Do in the Shadows, Harvey Guillén, is joining the cast of Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist.
- Emma Samms has returned to General Hospital after months of teasing that she would.
- Janina Gavankar is joining Invasion on Amazon.
Mark Your Calendar
- One Day at a Time will debut on CBS on October 5.
- WandaVision will debut on Disney+ in December.
- The Murders at White House Farm will premiere on HBO Max on September 24.
- Black Narcissus will debut on FX on Hulu on November 23.
- Small Axe will premiere on Amazon on November 20.
- Savage x Fenty Show returns on Amazon on October 2.
- Impact of Murder will return on ID on October 1.
- Top Secret Videos will premiere on truTV on October 29.
- Robert the Bruce will premiere on Crackle on October 1.
- Black Box debuts on Amazon on October 6.
- The Lie debuts on Amazon on October 6.
- Evil Eye will premiere on Amazon on October 13.
- Nocturne debuts on Amazon on October 13.
- The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius will premiere on ESPN+ on September 27.
- Stillwater will debut on AppleTV+ on December 4. Doug Unplugged will premiere on November 13. Ghostwriters returns on October 9 and Helpsters returns on October 16.
- 537 Votes will premiere on HBO on October 21.
- The Real Murders of Orange County will premiere on Oxygen on November 7.
- Reelz has announced its October premiere dates.
Ernie F. Orsatti, Stuntman
Winston Groom, Author of Forest Gump
Pamela Hutchinson, Singer in The Emotions
Lee Kerslake, Ozzy Osborne’s drummer
L.A.’s Finest: Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba star as a pair of LAPD cops in this spinoff of the popular Bad Boys movies. Series premiere (sorta — it aired originally in Canada and on Spectrum) 7 p.m., Fox
Filthy Rich: When the patriarch of a mega-rich televangelist family dies suddenly, and his secrets are revealed, his widow, played by Kim Catrall, must fight to protect the family name and fortune in this soapy drama. Series premiere. 8 p.m., Fox
Defying Gravity: A documentary series about the athletes who compete in gymnastics on the elite levels. Series premiere. YouTube
A Love Song for Latasha: A documentary about the 15-year-old girl whose shocking murder in 1991 played a large part in the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Netflix
- Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Julianne Moore, Chace Crawford, Polo G
- Late Night with Seth Meyers: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brendan Hunt
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Lt. General H.R. McMaster, Laurence Fishburne
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Charles Barkley, the Chicks
- The Daily Show: The Daily Social Distancing Show
- Conan: DIY Conan
- Watch What Happens Live: Alex Radcliffe, Jessica More
|ABC||Monday Night Football
|Manhunt: Deadly Games
|CW||Whose Line is it Anyway?
|Whose Line is it Anyway?
|Penn & Teller: Try This At Home Too
|NBC||American Ninja Warrior