Review of Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Work

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Work
by Victoria Ortiz
Middle School, High School    Clarion    184 pp.    g
6/19    978-0-544-97364-0    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-328-63990-5    $9.99

Since her appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a hero to many Americans for her progressive positions on cases involving free speech, freedom from discrimination, and gender equality. Ortiz’s volume is a good introduction to Ginsburg’s life, along with being a fine primer for studying the United States Constitution. Each chapter opens with an important Supreme Court case, switching midway to events in Ginsburg’s biography that were relevant to that case. The discussion of the free speech case of high-school student Joe Frederick, for example, recalls Ginsburg’s college days at Cornell in the early 1950s, where, as a research assistant, she learned about the McCarthy-era threat to democratic values and institutions and how “the United States was straying from its most basic values, that is, the right to think, speak, and write freely.” Many eye-catching archival photographs enhance the information. The Bill of Rights is appended, for handy reference, along with source notes, a bibliography, and an index (unseen). This volume pairs well with the young readers’ edition of The Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, and with recent picture books I Dissent by Debbie Levy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter, and No Truth Without Ruth by Kathleen Krull.

From the May/June 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dean Schneider
Dean Schneider teaches seventh and eighth grades at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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