Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Quotes

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”

“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

“A constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom.”

“My mother was very strong about my doing well in school and living up to my potential. Two things were important to her and she repeated them endlessly. One was to ‘be a lady,’ and that meant conduct yourself civilly, don’t let emotions like anger or envy get in your way. And the other was to be independent, which was an unusual message for mothers of that time to be giving their daughters.”

“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.”

~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Feminism … I think the simplest explanation, and one that captures the idea, is a song that Marlo Thomas sang, ‘Free to be You and Me.’ Free to be, if you were a girl—doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. Anything you want to be. And if you’re a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that’s OK too. That notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial barriers—manmade barriers, certainly not heaven sent.”

“Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.”

“Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

“The side that wants to take the choice away from women and give it to the state, they’re fighting a losing battle. Time is on the side of change.

The basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman.”

“We care about this institution more than our individual egos and we are all devoted to keeping the Supreme Court in the place that it is, as a co-equal third branch of government and I think a model for the world in the collegiality and independence of judges.”

On how she would always like to be remembered? …

“Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something, as my colleague David Souter would say, outside myself. ‘Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid.”

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