Jane Fonda said she is “reeling” from the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an emotional interview with Real Time’s Bill Maher.
Appearing virtually on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the actress and activist was there to promote her Sept. book, What Can I Do? The Truth About Climate Change And How To Fix It. But upon learning that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died that day of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87, the conversation took a somber turn.
Ginsburg consistently fought for reproductive freedom, equal pay, and female representation in the military. She recently told her granddaughter Clara Spera that her “most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” However, the potential for Ginsburg’s seat to be taken by a conservative nominee weighed heavily on Fonda.
“I’m still reeling, Bill,” she told Maher. “I just heard that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. We have to be as tough as Mitch McConnell and not allow them to do one frickin’ thing until the election results. I mean, we have to rise up and not allow them to do it. If Mitch McConnell can do it, let’s get some — grow some balls and ovaries.”
Shortly after the announcement of Ginsburg’s passing, Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced that he would hold a vote on Ginsburg’s replacement, upsetting some Democrats who hoped that person would be selected after the presidential election in November.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said on Friday. After the Feb. 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia, McConnell said the Senate should not consider a nominee from then-President Obama, who still had a remaining nine months of his term.
Clearly distraught, Fonda gathered herself. “Oh my god. Okay I’m here to talk about my book.” she said, switching gears to her wildly successful climate change protest campaign, known as Fire Drill Fridays, which seeks to bring more attention to the anti-fossil fuels movement.
“I wanted to turn 82 in jail. And they should’ve put me in jail because it was my 5th time, but they didn’t because I think they knew it would get a lot of attention,” said Fonda, who was arrested for the fifth time in December while in Washington D.C. Fonda wound up spending one night in jail, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. She also said on her website that she intended to spend every Friday protesting at the Capitol.
On the threat of climate change, Fonda said, “The scientists tell us what’s looming and how dangerous it is. But they also tell us we can solve this. We have to cut our fossil fuel emissions in half in ten years, that’s hard, and then gradually phase out until 2050. We can do it. But we have to come together and make the government do it. There is a way out. We have the intelligence, the money, the technology, what we need is you. We need people. Alert, awakened, mobilized, ready to do what’s necessary to make this happen.”
Fonda also spoke about how she wasn’t always one to lean into the spotlight. When Maher referred to her as “one of the bravest people I know,” Fonda was quick to correct him.
“I spend a third of my life just nebbish, a nothing. Hedonistic. I didn’t even know why I was alive. I know what that feels like, to not know why you’re here,” she said passionately. “To feel like your life has no meaning. And I can tell you the difference between that and being willing to put yourself on the line and stand up for what you believe in, especially if you believe the future of the world is at stake, that’s a better way to be.”
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