Confined to her home following surgery to remove cancerous growths from her lungs, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hasn’t been spotted presiding over the high court lately. But as a weekend edition of USA Today shrewdly declared, she will be “presiding over pop culture.”
Lately, Ginsburg has been the subject of several acclaimed media productions, glorified in a New York Times bestselling book sensation, honored in an SNL rap tribute, and memorialized in a box-office-hit biopic covering her early career. Now, however, it seems the living liberal legend will be cast as a mini-figurine in the latest movie from the Lego franchise, appearing in her Supreme Court regalia in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.
“These movies are so full of surprises. And we were thinking, ‘Who’s the last person you would think to see in a Lego film as a minifig?’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg!” director Mike Mitchell told USA Today.
Previous Lego movies have rehashed the epic adventures of superheroes, ninjas, and iconic fantasy characters, and a miniature Ginsburg will be making a cameo appearance in the sequel to 2014’s The Lego Movie. The current animated film features a pair of siblings playing with the detachable toys, and Ginsburg will reportedly appear as a blocky version of herself in “part of the creative younger sister’s universe.”
“We just were trying to think of people who should be immortalized in Lego and who seem fun at weddings,” Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the co-writers and producers of the sequel, said of their casting decision.
Ginsburg’s character will appear in her black robes of office, complete with a ruffled neckband and gavel. The cartoon judge will not be voiced by Ginsburg, although she gave her permission to have her likeness represented in the movie.
Health scare remains
But fans of the Supreme Court justice — known as the Notorious RBG in liberal circles — shouldn’t expect to see her at the movie’s premiere on Feb. 8. After missing two weeks on the bench for the first time in her career, Ginsburg has canceled public appearances through early February.
The veteran justice was expected at the Los Angeles’ Skirball Cultural Center on Jan. 29 and was supposed to appear for an interview at a progressive Jewish organization on Feb. 6. Ginsburg is recovering from a Dec. 24 surgery to have two “nodules” removed from her left lung, and some doctors have speculated that her recovery period is perfectly normal for someone of Ginsburg’s age and condition.
Julie Cohen and Betsy West, who directed the RBG documentary, have kept in touch with the Ginsburg family after producing their film, and they dismissed allegations that the Supreme Court judge may have experienced complications from surgery.
“She’s doing well and going through her recovery and doing everything she needs to do to get back to work,” they told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week.
Part of Ginsburg’s mythological celebrity comes from the immense power she wields from such a diminutive frame. Weighing in at barely over 100 lbs, Ginsburg has bounced back from numerous serious health scares without missing a day of oral arguments on the Supreme Court.
She’s been called “tough as nails” by her physical trainer, and a young adult male journalist who tried to keep up with the octogenarian in a workout session was left huffing and puffing. Ginsburg’s relentless attitude has served her well in the courtroom, too, contributing to her reputation as a trailblazer for women’s rights and civil liberties.
Of course, it will be difficult for animators to capture Ginsburg’s persona in a children’s movie about a miniature fantasyland. Nonetheless, her appearance in such a film points to the justice’s mainstream staying-power, and she could serve as an inspiration to a whole new generation of young women.