Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933 – September 18, 2020) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She was the second female justice (after Sandra Day O'Connor) and was one of three female justices serving on the Supreme Court (along with Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan). She was generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg spent a considerable portion of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of women's rights as a constitutional principle. She advocated as a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and was a member of its board of directors and one of its general counsel in the 1970s. She was a professor at Rutgers School of Law–Newark and Columbia Law School. Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020.
- The emphasis must not be on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control.
- Interview, Ms. magazine (April 1974)
- Inevitably, the shape of the law on gender-based classification and reproductive autonomy indicates and influences the opportunity women will have to participate as men's full partners in the nation's social, political, and economic life.
- “Some Thoughts on Autonomy and Equality in Relation to Roe v. Wade", North Carolina Law Review Volume 63, Number 2, Article 4, 1985, p.375
- I commented at the outset that I believe the Court presented an incomplete justification for its action. Academic criticism of Roe, charging the Court with reading its own values into the due process clause, might have been less pointed had the Court placed the woman alone, rather than the woman tied to her physician, at the center of its attention.
- “Some Thoughts on Autonomy and Equality in Relation to Roe v. Wade", North Carolina Law Review Volume 63, Number 2, Article 4, 1985, p.382
- Overall, the Court's Roe position is weakened, I believe, by the opinion's concentration on a medically approved autonomy idea, to the exclusion of a constitutionally based sex-equality perspective. I understand the view that for political reasons the reproductive autonomy controversy should be isolated from the general debate on equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for women and men.
- “Some Thoughts on Autonomy and Equality in Relation to Roe v. Wade", North Carolina Law Review Volume 63, Number 2, Article 4, 1985, pp.385-386
- The seven to two judgment in Roe v. Wade declared “violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” a Texas criminal abortion statute that intolerably shackled a woman’s autonomy; the Texas law “except[ed] from criminality only a life-saving procedure on behalf of the [pregnant woman].” Suppose the Court had stopped there, rightly declaring unconstitutional the most extreme brand of law in the nation, and had not gone on, as the Court did in Roe, to fashion a regime blanketing the subject, a set of rules that displaced virtually every state law then in force. Would there have been the twenty-year controversy we have witnessed, reflected most recently in the Supreme Court’s splintered decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey? A less encompassing Roe, one that merely struck down the extreme Texas law and went no further on that day, I believe and will summarize why, might have served to reduce rather than to fuel controversy.
- Lecture given in 2003 year at New York University School of Law in which Ginsburg critiqued the United States SUpreme Court for the structure of its decision in Roe v. Wade. As quoted in: Olivia Waxman (August 2, 2018): Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wishes This Case Had Legalized Abortion Instead of Roe v. Wade. In: Time Magazine. Archived from the original on May 27, 2022.
- Abortion prohibition by the State, however, controls women and denies them full autonomy and full equality with men. That was the idea I tried to express in the lecture to which you referred.
- When Sen. Hank Brown (R-CO) asked about her remarks during her 1993 Senate confirmation hearing about the above quoted lecture, Ginsburg clarified her stance with the quoted sentences. As quoted in: Olivia Waxman (August 2, 2018): Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wishes This Case Had Legalized Abortion Instead of Roe v. Wade. In: Time Magazine. Archived from the original on May 27, 2022.
- It is essential to woman’s equality with man that she be the decisionmaker, that her choice be controlling. If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.
- So all three strands were involved in Captain Struck’s case. The main emphasis was on her equality as a woman vis-à-vis a man who was equally responsible for the conception, and on her personal choice, which the Government said she could not have unless she gave up her career in the service. In that case, all three strands were involved: her equality right, her right to decide for herself whether she was going to bear the child, and her religious belief. So it was never an either/or matter, one rather than the other. It was always recognition that one thing that conspicuously distinguishes women from men is that only women become pregnant; and if you subject a woman to disadvantageous treatment on the basis of her pregnant status, which was what was happening to Captain Struck, you would be denying her equal treatment under the law…
- The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.
- 1993 Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings. As quoted in: Olivia Waxman (August 2, 2018): Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wishes This Case Had Legalized Abortion Instead of Roe v. Wade. In: Time magazine. Archived from the original on May 27, 2022. As quoted in: Louise Melling (Deputy Legal Director and Director of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Center for Liberty, ACLU) (September 23, 2020): For Justice Ginsburg, Abortion Was About Equality. In: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Archived from the original on May 27, 2022.
- Let me try to state in a nutshell how I view the work of judging. My approach, I believe, is neither liberal nor conservative. Rather, it is rooted in the place of the judiciary, of judges, in our democratic society. The Constitution’s preamble speaks first of we, the people, and then of their elected representatives. The judiciary is third in line and it is placed apart from the political fray so that its members can judge fairly, impartially, in accordance with the law, and without fear about the animosity of any pressure group. In Alexander Hamilton’s words, “The mission of judges is to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.” I would add that the judge should carry out that function without fanfare, but with due care. She should decide the case before her without reaching out to cover cases not yet seen. She should be ever mindful as judge. And then Justice Benjamin Nathan Cardozo said, “Justice is not to be taken by storm. She is to be wooed by slow advances.”
- Defenders of sex-based government action must demonstrate an exceedingly persuasive justification for that action to make that demonstration. The defender of a gender line must show at least that the talents classification served important governmental objective and that any discriminatory mean employed is substantively related to the achievement of those objectives. The heightened review standard applicable to sex-based classification does not make a proscribed classification but it does mark as presumptively invalid incompatible with equal protection a law or official policy that denies to women simply because they are women equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in, and contribute to society based upon what they can do. Under this exacting standard reliance on overbroad generalization typically male or typically female tendency estimates about the way most women or most men are will not suffice to deny opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description. As this Court said in Mississippi University for women against Hogan some 14 years ago state actors may not close entrance gates based on fixed notions concerning their roles and abilities of males and females.
- Neither federal nor state government acts compatibly with equal protection when a law or official policy denies to women, simply because they are women, full citizenship stature — equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities.
- Writing for the court, United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), at 532.
- "Inherent differences" between men and women, we have come to appreciate, remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual's opportunity. Sex classifications may be used to compensate women "for particular economic disabilities [they have] suffered," Califano v. Webster, 430 U. S. 313, 320 (1977) (per curiam), to "promot[e] equal employment opportunity," see California Fed. Sav. & Loan Assn. v. Guerra, 479 U. S. 272, 289 (1987), to advance full development of the talent and capacities of our Nation's people. But such classifications may not be used, as they once were, see Goesaert, 335 U. S., at 467, to create or perpetuate the legal, social, and economic inferiority of women.
- Writing for the court, United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), at 533-534.
- To summarize the Court's current directions for cases of official classification based on gender: Focusing on the differential treatment or denial of opportunity for which relief is sought, the reviewing court must determine whether the proffered justification is "exceedingly persuasive." The burden of justification is demanding and it rests entirely on the State. [...] The justification must be genuine, not hypothesized or invented post hoc in response to litigation. And it must not rely on overbroad generalizations about the different talents, capacities, or preferences of males and females. [...] As earlier stated, see supra, at 541-542, generalizations about "the way women are," estimates of what is appropriate for most women, no longer justify denying opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description.
- Writing for the court, United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996), at 533 and 550.
- In sum, the Court's conclusion that a constitutionally adequate recount is impractical is a prophecy the Court's own judgment will not allow to be tested. Such an untested prophecy should not decide the Presidency of the United States. I dissent.
- Dissenting, Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000)
- 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.
- [L]egal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.
- Dissenting, Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007). As quoted in: Louise Melling (Deputy Legal Director and Director of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Center for Liberty, ACLU) (September 23, 2020): For Justice Ginsburg, Abortion Was About Equality. In: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Archived from the original on May 27, 2022.
- This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women’s place in the family and under the Constitution — ideas that have long since been discredited.
- Dissenting, Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007) in response to the Majority Opinion authored by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy who wrote (Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007), Part IV, section A): "While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. [...] It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child, a child assuming the human form.". As quoted in: Louise Melling (Deputy Legal Director and Director of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Center for Liberty, ACLU) (September 23, 2020): For Justice Ginsburg, Abortion Was About Equality. In: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Archived from the original on May 27, 2022.
- Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception.
- Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.
- Interview, The New York Times Magazine (7 July 2009)
“The Place of Women on the Court” (July 7, 2009)
“The Place of Women on the Court” by Emily Bazelon, New York Times Magazine, (July 7, 2009)
- Q: At your confirmation hearings in 1993, you talked about how you hoped to see three or four women on the court. How do you feel about how long it has taken to see simply one more woman nominated?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: My prediction was right for the Supreme Court of Canada. They have Beverley McLachlin as the chief justice, and they have at least three other women. The attrition rate is slow on this court.
- Q: Now that Judge Sotomayor has been nominated, how do you feel about that?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I feel great that I don’t have to be the lone woman around this place.
- Q: What has that been like?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: It’s almost like being back in law school in 1956, when there were 9 of us in a class of over 500, so that meant most sections had just 2 women, and you felt that every eye was on you. Every time you went to answer a question, you were answering for your entire sex. It may not have been true, but certainly you felt that way. You were different and the object of curiosity.
- Q: Did you think that all the attention to the criticism of Sotomayor as being “bullying” or not as smart is sex-inflected? Does that have to do with the rarity of a woman in her position, and the particular challenges?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I can’t say that it was just that she was a woman. There are some people in Congress who would criticize severely anyone President Obama nominated. They’ll seize on any handle. One is that she’s a woman, another is that she made the remark about Latina women. [In 2001 Sotomayor said: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”] And I thought it was ridiculous for them to make a big deal out of that. Think of how many times you’ve said something that you didn’t get out quite right, and you would edit your statement if you could. I’m sure she meant no more than what I mean when I say: Yes, women bring a different life experience to the table. All of our differences make the conference better. That I’m a woman, that’s part of it, that I’m Jewish, that’s part of it, that I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and I went to summer camp in the Adiron-dacks, all these things are part of me.
- Q: From your point of view, does having another woman on the court matter primarily in terms of the public’s perception, or also for what it feels like to be in conference and on the bench?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: All of those things. What was particularly good was that Sandra and I were different — not cast in the same mold. Sandra gets out two words to my every one. I think that Sonia and I will also be quite different in our style. I think she may be the first justice who didn’t have English as her native language. And she has done just about everything that you can do in law as a prosecutor, in a private firm and on the District Court and the Court of Appeals.
- Q: What do you think about Judge Sotomayor’s frank remarks that she is a product of affirmative action?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: So am I. I was the first tenured woman at Columbia. That was 1972, every law school was looking for its woman. Why? Because Stan Pottinger, who was then head of the office for civil rights of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, was enforcing the Nixon government contract program. Every university had a contract, and Stan Pottinger would go around and ask, How are you doing on your affirmative-action plan? GWilliam McGill, who was then the president of Columbia, was asked by a reporter: How is Columbia doing with its affirmative action? He said, It’s no mistake that the two most recent appointments to the law school are a woman and an African-American man.
- Q: And was that you?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I was the woman. I never would have gotten that invitation from Columbia without the push from the Nixon administration. I understand that there is a thought that people will point to the affirmative-action baby and say she couldn’t have made it if she were judged solely on the merits. But when I got to Columbia I was well regarded by my colleagues even though they certainly disagreed with many of the positions that I was taking. They backed me up: If that’s what I thought, I should be able to speak my mind.
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I always thought that there was nothing an antifeminist would want more than to have women only in women’s organizations, in their own little corner empathizing with each other and not touching a man’s world. If you’re going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers.
- JUSTICE GINSBURG:: If you want to influence people, you want them to accept your suggestions, you don’t say, You don’t know how to use the English language, or how could you make that argument? It will be welcomed much more if you have a gentle touch than if you are aggressive.
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think back to the days when — I don’t know who it was — when I think Truman suggested the possibility of a woman as a justice. Someone said we have these conferences and men are talking to men and sometimes we loosen our ties, sometimes even take off our shoes. The notion was that they would be inhibited from doing that if women were around. I don’t know how many times I’ve kicked off my shoes. Including the time some reporter said something like, it took me a long time to get up from the bench. They worried, was I frail? To be truthful I had kicked off my shoes, and I couldn’t find my right shoe; it traveled way underneath.
- Q: You are said to have very warm relationships with your colleagues. And so I was surprised to read a comment you made in an interview in May with Joan Biskupic of USA Today. You said that when you were a young lawyer, your voice was often ignored, and then a male colleague would repeat a point you’d made, and other people would be alert to it. And then you said this still happens now at conference.
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: Not often. It was a routine thing [in the past] that I would say something and it would just pass, and then somebody else would say almost the same thing and people noticed. I think the idea in the 1950s and ’60s was that if it was a woman’s voice, you could tune out, because she wasn’t going to say anything significant. There’s much less of that. But it still exists, and it’s not a special experience that I’ve had. I’ve talked to other women in high places, and they've had the same experience.
- Q: I wanted to ask you about the academic research on the effect of sex on judging. Studies have found a difference in the way male and female judges of similar ideologies vote in some cases. And that the presence of a woman on a panel can influence the way her male colleagues vote. How do these findings match your experience?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I’m very doubtful about those kinds of [results]. I certainly know that there are women in federal courts with whom I disagree just as strongly as I disagree with any man. I guess I have some resistance to that kind of survey because it’s what I was arguing against in the ’70s. Like in Mozart’s opera “Così Fan Tutte”: that’s the way women are.
- Q: We started by talking about the idea of three or four women on the Supreme Court. Could you imagine a Supreme Court that had five or six or seven women on it?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, we’ve had some state Supreme Courts that have had a majority of women.
- Q: Do you have a sense of what that would be like to actually work on and how it would be different?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: The work would not be any easier. Some of the amenities might improve.
- Q: Do you think that some of the discrimination cases might turn out differently?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think for the most part, yes. I would suspect that, because the women will relate to their own experiences.
- Q: That’s one area in which outcomes might actually differ?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes. I think the presence of women on the bench made it possible for the courts to appreciate earlier than they might otherwise that sexual harassment belongs under Title VII [as a violation of civil rights law].
- Q: What about the case this term involving the strip search, in school, of 13-year-old Savana Red-ding? Justice Souter’s majority opinion, finding that the strip search was unconstitutional, is very different from what I expected after oral argument, when some of the men on the court didn’t seem to see the seriousness here. Is that an example of a case when having a woman as part of the conversation was important?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: I think it makes people stop and think, Maybe a 13-year-old girl is different from a 13-year-old boy in terms of how humiliating it is to be seen undressed. I think many of [the male justices] first thought of their own reaction. It came out in various questions. You change your clothes in the gym, what’s the big deal?
- Q: You have written, “To turn in a new direction, the court first had to gain an understanding that legislation apparently designed to benefit or protect women could have the opposite effect.” The pedestal versus the cage. Has the court made that turn completely, or is there still more work to be done?
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: Not completely, as you can see in the case involving whether a child acquires citizenship from an unwed father. [Nguyen v. INS, in which the court in 2001 upheld, by 5 to 4, a law that set different requirements for a child to become a citizen, depending on whether his citizenship rights came from his unmarried mother or his unmarried father.] The majority thought there was some-thing about the link between a mother and a child that doesn’t exist between the father and a child. But in fact the child in the case had been brought up by his father.
They were held back by a way of looking at the world in which a man who wasn’t married simply was not responsible. There must have been so many repetitions of Madame Butterfly in World War II. And for Justice Stevens [who voted with the majority], that was part of his experience. I think that’s going to be over in the next generation, these kinds of rulings.
- JUSTICE GINSBURG: The Legislature can make the change, can facilitate the change, as laws like the Family Medical Leave Act do. But it’s not something a court can decree. A court can’t tell the man, You’ve got to do more than carry out the garbage.
- Nine, nine... There have been nine men there for a long, long time, right? So why not nine women?
- You're saying, no, State did two kinds of marriage, the full marriage, and then this sort of skim milk marriage.
- "The women going to this law school, you will have many opportunities. What about the girl who is undereducated, drops out of school when she's a teenager and pregnant? Helping raise the level of all women is something I think women should care about.
- Bullington, Jonathan (May 11, 2013). "Justice Ginsburg: Roe v. Wade not 'woman-centered'". Chicago Tribune.
- Undocumented aliens unfortunately are not protected by the law and they are tremendously subjected to exploitation. The result is that they would be willing to work for a wage that no person who is welcome in our shores would, would take. I think the answer to that problem is in Congress' lap. People who have been hardworking, tax paying, those people ought to be given an opportunity to be on a track that leads towards citizenship and if that happened, then they wouldn't be prey to the employers who say "we want you because we know that you work for a salary we could not lawfully pay anyone else."
- Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.
- Dissenting, Shelby County v. Holder (2013)
- The great man who led the march from Selma to Montgomery and there called for the passage of the Voting Rights Act foresaw progress, even in Alabama,” she wrote. “‘The arc of the moral universe is long,’ he said, but ‘it bends toward justice,’ if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.
- Opinion announcement from the bench by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 2013 United Supreme States Court case Shelby County v. Holder (June 25, 2013). As quoted by Joyce White Vance (September 21, 2020): Ideas: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lost Her Battle to Save Voting Rights. Here's How We Can Take Up the Fight and Honor Her Legacy. In: Time Magazine. Archived from the original on October 2, 2020. Also quoted by Adam Liptak (June 25, 2013): Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act. In: The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 2, 2020. Also quoted by Abigail Perkiss (March 15, 2015): The Voting Rights Act at 50: Racial justice, federal protection, and the fight for local control. In: National Constitution Center. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020.
- If you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me.
- People ask me sometimes... 'When will there be enough women on the court?' And my answer is, 'When there are nine.' People are shocked, but there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that.
- Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
- Statement of advice on being presented the Radcliffe Medal, as quoted in "Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg" by Colleen Walsh, in The Harvard Gazette (29 May 2015)
- To restate the key question in this case, the issue centrally debated by the parties: Absent congressional authorization, does the Elections Clause preclude the people of Arizona from creating a commission operating independently of the state legislature to establish congressional districts? The history and purpose of the Clause weigh heavily against such preclusion, as does the animating principle of our Constitution that the people themselves are the originating source of all the powers of government.
- Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, 576 U.S. 787 (2015), at III Part C.
- Generally change in our society is incremental. Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.
- Ian Millhisser (October 8, 2015): Justice Ginsburg’s Warning To A Dysfunctional Nation. In: ThinkPrgoress. Archived from the original on September 9, 2022. Also partially quoted in: Li Cohen (September 19, 2022): Ruth Bader Ginsburg's iconic quotes on law, love and the fight for equality. In: CBS News. Archived from the original on September 9, 2022.
- Justice O'Connor had set the model. She had breast surgery and she was on the bench nine days after her surgery. She said, 'Now, Ruth, have your chemotherapy on a Friday. That way, you have the weekend to get over it'
- On law. Source: Interview with CBS Sunday Morning's Jane Pauley, 2016. As quoted in: Li Cohen (September 19, 2022): Ruth Bader Ginsburg's iconic quotes on law, love and the fight for equality. In: CBS News. Archived from the original on September 9, 2022.
- It's a facet of the gay rights movement that people don't think about enough. Why suddenly marriage equality? Because it wasn't until 1981 that the court struck down Louisiana's "head and master rule," that the husband was head and master of the house.
- My Own Words (2016)
- If the Senate is not acting, what can be done about it? Even if you could conceive of a testing lawsuit, what would the response be? 'Well, you want us to vote, so we'll vote no.' I do think cooler heads will prevail, I hope sooner rather than later. The president is elected for four years not three years, so the power he has in year three continues into year four. Maybe members of the Senate will wake up and appreciate that that's how it should be.
- As quoted in "Ginsburg suggests Senate should act on Garland nomination, but says it cannot be forced to" by Robert Barnes, Washington Post (7 September 2016)
- There's nothing in the Constitution that says the President stops being President in his last year.
- As quoted in "Ruth Bader Ginsburg, No Fan of Donald Trump, Critiques Latest Term" by Adam Liptak, The New York Times (10 July 2016)
- Eight is not a good number for a collegial body that sometimes disagrees.
- As quoted in "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Suggests Senate Should Confirm Merrick Garland in Lame-Duck Session" by Katie Reilly, TIME (12 October 2016)
- I tell law students… if you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, you have a skill—very much like a plumber. But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself… something that makes life a little better for people less fortunate than you.
- I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.
- I have heard that there are some people on the Democratic side who would like to increase the number of judges. I think that was a bad idea... I am not at all in favor of that solution.
- As quoted in "NPR Interview with Justice Ginsburg: 'I'm Still Very Much Alive'", npr.org (24 July 2019)
- It was lucky that I met Marty at a time when the best degree that a girl could have not her BA or her JD, it was her M-R-S.
- My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.
- Ginsburg's statement dictated to her granddaughter a few days before her death, as reported in "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87" by Nina Totenberg, NPR.org (18 September 2020)
- At the Supreme Court, those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know.
- Gerstein, Josh; Ward, Alexander (May 2, 2022). "Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows". Politico. Archived from the original on May 4, 2022. Retrieved May 2, 2022.
- Full quote in context: The Supreme Court remains one of Washington’s most secretive institutions, priding itself on protecting the confidentiality of its internal deliberations.“At the Supreme Court, those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know,” Ginsburg was fond of saying.
- Think back to 1787. Who were 'we the people'? … They certainly weren't women … they surely weren't people held in human bondage. The genius of our Constitution is that over now more than 200 sometimes turbulent years that 'we' has expanded and expanded.
- When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?’ and my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.
- They have never been a 13-year-old girl.
- About men on the court after her male colleagues appeared indifferent about a girl’s strip-search by school administrators in the case Safford Unified School District v. Redding. As quoted in: Jay Croft (September 20, 2020): 10 quotes that help define the ‘Notorious RBG’ legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In: CNN. Archived from the original on September 9, 2022.
- We are a nation made strong by people like you.
- She said, 'Dear, in every good marriage it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.' And I followed that advice in dealing not only with my dear spouse but in dealing even with my colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court."
- It helps sometimes to be a little deaf (in marriage and in) every workplace, including the good job I have now.
- My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.
- Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.
- Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
- 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.
- This is something central to a woman’s life, to her dignity. It’s a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she’s being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.
- We are at last beginning to relegate to the history books the idea of the token woman.
- To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.
Quotes about Ginsburg
- I first met Justice Ginsburg a year ago, when she invited me to her chambers and to a tea for international fellows from Georgetown law school, at which she was speaking. It struck me then, as we walked through the courthouse, that each marker she pointed out involved women’s history — from a photograph and a political cartoon in the hallway outside her chambers of Belva Lockwood, the first woman admitted to the Supreme Court bar, to the renaming of a dining room at the court in honor of Natalie Cornell Rehnquist, wife of the late chief justice. (The tribute was O’Connor’s idea. “My former chief was a traditionalist, but he could hardly object,” Ginsburg said with a bit of glee.)
- Emily Bazelon, “The Place of Women on the Court”, New York Times Magazine, (July 7, 2009)
- I think performing Oscar the first time in Santa Fe is really what prompted me to look into proposing to my husband Scott, because it just seemed right. You know, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a huge advocate for Oscar and talked about in interviews. She came to the performances in Santa Fe and we were able to meet her and take photos with her. So it all just made sense: I think Prop 8 failed at that time, states started to make marriage legal, and it just all seemed right. So, yeah, we got married between the two runs of Oscar, and fortunately, Justice Ginsburg married us in D.C., which was such an honor. I still look back to that day and can’t really believe it! I asked her, and she said if I could come to Washington, D.C., she would be happy to do it.
- The ACLU and the librarians appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency stay in order to allow the librarians to testify before Congress, which was debating reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act at that very moment. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg declined to intervene.
- Amy Goodman Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008)
- Well, there are all kind of hearts. There are bleeding hearts and there are hard hearts. And if I wanted to judge Justice Ginsburg on her heart, I might take a hard-hearted view of her and say she’s a bleeding heart. She represents the ACLU. She wants the age of consent to be 12. She believes there’s a constitutional right to prostitution. What kind of heart is that?
- I guess where I am on this, if you look at Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I mean, she — the Ginsburg rule, she doesn’t have to answer specific questions, clearly pro-choice going in, thinks there may even be a constitutional right to polygamy, has a controversial view we should lower the age of consent to 12, supports legalized prostitution, very left-wing.
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voices on Antisemitism: Interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
- Supreme Court Associate Justice Nomination Hearings on Ruth Bader Ginsburg in July 1993
- Membership at the Council on Foreign Relations