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Quotations by & about
U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Through the many challenges both professionally and personally, she was the essence of grace, civility and dignity. ~Justice Clarence Thomas, 2020

Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2009

Notorious RBG  ~Shana Knizhnik,, 2013

Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth is Truth  ~Internet meme

...a great Justice;
a woman of valour;
a rock of righteousness;
and my good, good friend.
The world is a better place for her having lived in it.
And so is her family;
her friends;
the legal community;
and the nation.
~Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 2020

I often quoted the lines of Sarah Grimke, one of two wonderful sisters from South Carolina, and they said to legislators in the mid-1900s, I ask no favor for my sex, all I ask of my brethren is that they take their feet from off our necks. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

That's a Ginsburn! ~Saturday Night Live

It is not women's liberation; it is women's and men's liberation. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My dear friend and colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American hero. She spent her life fighting for the equality of all people, and she was a pathbreaking champion of women’s rights. She served our Court and country with consummate dedication, tirelessness, and passion for justice. She has left a legacy few could rival. ~Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 2020

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 become the dominant view. So that's the dissenter's hope, that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2002  [a little altered —tg]

Sometimes I'm asked when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court, and when I say "when there are nine," people are shocked. But there'd been nine men and nobody's ever raised a question about that. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2012  [a little altered —tg]

You just got Ginsburned! ~Saturday Night Live

RBG, y'all! ~Internet meme

To me, as to countless others, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a hero. As an attorney, she led the fight to grant women equal rights under the law. As a judge, she did justice every day — working to ensure that this country's legal system lives up to its ideals and extends its rights and protections to those once excluded. And in both roles, she held to — indeed, exceeded — the highest standards of legal craft. Her work was as careful as it was creative, as disciplined as it was visionary. It will endure for as long as Americans retain their commitment to law. ~Justice Elena Kagan, 2020

You can't have it all, all at once... Over my lifespan I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time things were rough. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One of the most looked-up-to people in Washington stood at just 5-foot-1. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday at age 87... She is remembered for her withering dissents and unrivaled work ethic that made her a formidable force on the Supreme Court for nearly three decades. The diminutive justice, who barely cracked 100 pounds on the scale for most of her adult life, was a giant to liberals... Ginsburg defied gender boundaries throughout her legal career... ~Patrick Ryan, "'RBG': How 'Notorious' Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a pop culture icon,", 2020 September 18th

My mother-in-law said, "Dear, in every good marriage it helps sometimes to be a little deaf." That advice has stood me in good stead. Not simply in dealing with my marriage but in dealing with my colleagues. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg  [a little altered —tg]

Justices continue to think and can change. I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Don't be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice. ~Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., 2020

Researchers Sydney Brannoch and Gavin Svenson have identified a new species of leaf-dwelling praying mantis, dubbed Ilomantis ginsburgae. And yes, that is an insect named after The Notorious R.B.G., member of the highest court in the U.S. The nod to Ruth Bader Ginsburg is inspired partly by the justice's trademark ruffled collars — I. ginsburgae has a neck plate that the researchers say resembles the jabot, as the collar is known. ~Camila Domonoske, "Insect Named For Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Step Toward Equality Of The 6-Legged Sexes,", 2016  ["Ruth Bader Gins-bug, anyone?" ~Joe, Ruth Bader GinsBlog, —tg]

But the name Ilomantis ginsburgae also honors Ginsburg's "relentless fight for gender equality," according to a press release... Because, as it happens, the scientists are fighting for equality of the sexes, insect-style. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History explains that insects are frequently classified into species based on male insects' genitalia. Looking at female genitalia to identify a new species had never been done in praying mantises — until now. ~Camila Domonoske, "Insect Named For Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Step Toward Equality Of The 6-Legged Sexes,", 2016

We are blessed by the happy memories that will remain, like traveling with Ruth to London where (to her delight) an uninformed guide kept calling her "Ruthie," or all the opera she tried so valiantly to teach me, or her sweet tooth at lunch, or the touching stories of her remarkable life with Marty. ~Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, 2020

...the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon... ~Nina Totenberg, "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87,", 2020

Justice Antonin Scalia:
      The justices are blind — how can they possibly spout this?
      The Constitution says absolutely nothing about this!
      This right that they've enshrined — when did the document sprout this?
      The Framers wrote and signed words that endured without this...
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
      How many times must I tell you, dear Mister Justice Scalia,
      You'd spare us such pain if you'd just entertain this idea.
      You are searching in vain for a bright-line solution,
      To a problem that isn't so easy to solve.
      But the beautiful thing about our Constitution is that
      Like our society, it can evolve...
~Derrick Wang, Scalia/Ginsburg: An Opera, 2015,

Alex:  Think about something calming, like that Supreme Court lady you like — Darth Vader Ginsburg.
Elena:  You mean the tiny old lady clinging to life with one hand and to our frail democracy with the other?
~One Day at a Time, "Drinking and Driving," 2019, written by Dan Signer, Andy Roth, & Janine Brito  [S3, E12]

"Women's rights will not go back to the Dark Side!" —Ruth Vader Ginsburg  ~Internet meme

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has beaten cancer like 67 times now without a single complaint but Brett Kavanaugh couldn't make it through the first 10 minutes of his confirmation hearing without crying and screaming. Kinda blows the "women are too emotional for politics" BS to smithereens. ~Adam Best, @adamcbest, tweet, 2019

There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months. That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, July 2019

It was exhilarating to help bring down the barriers that, in Justice Brennan's words, put women less "on a pedestal" than "in a cage." So much has changed for the better since then. True, we have not reached Nirvana, but the progress I have seen in my lifetime makes me optimistic for the future. Our communities, nation, and world will be increasingly improved as women achieve their rightful place in all fields of human endeavor. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent a lifetime flourishing in the face of adversity before being appointed a Supreme Court justice, where she successfully fought against gender discrimination and unified the liberal block of the court., 2020

I have one amendment, beyond all others, that I would like to see added to our Constitution, and that is the Equal Rights Amendment... Every constitution in the world written after World War II has a statement to the effect that women and men are persons of equal citizenship stature. I would like to take my pocket Constitution out, show it to my three granddaughters, and say, "This is a prime value of our society, just like free speech and freedom of religion. The equality of men and women, their equal citizenship stature, is a basic tenet of our society." ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, answering a question from Scott Hershovitz, Tanner Lecture, University of Michigan, 2015  [a little altered —tg]

If there was one decision I would overrule, it would be Citizens United. I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2014

The emphasis must be not on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control. ~Professor Ruth Ginsburg, 1974

The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman's life, to her well-being, and dignity. It's a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg  [a little altered —tg]

Diminutive yet forceful. Passionate yet rational. Strategic yet direct. ~Scott Dodson, The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2015

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not one of an exclusive "us," she is one of the "us" that embraces the whole and wears a face of many nations, bound together by love of country and conviction. ~Ruth Hanna Sachs, "In Living Color," Life with Ruth, 2002, originally published on

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court’s feminist icon, not only changed the law, she also transformed the roles of men and women in society. ~Linda Greenhouse,, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the leading liberal voice of dissent on the modern Supreme Court. But she arguably made her most profound mark on the law before becoming a judge, as a pioneer for women's rights. Put simply, she changed the way the world is for American women. ~Nina Totenberg, 2015

Notorious RBG:  You can't handle the Ruth. ~Internet meme

The flyest justice SCOTUS has ever seen. ~@notoriousrbg, Instagram bio

Ginsburg is no one-trick pony. As the resident proceduralist on the Court, her opinions have fundamentally affected matters of federal procedure and jurisdiction. She has also written notable opinions in the fields of federalism, international law, criminal procedure, racial equality, abortion, congressional power, and even tax. In some ways, her impact in these areas is even more important to celebrate, if only because it has been overshadowed by her triumphs in gender equality. ~Scott Dodson, The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2015

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is best known as the lawyer and litigator primarily responsible for raising the issue of equal rights for women to the level of constitutional principle. ~John R. Vile, Great American Lawyers: An Encyclopedia, 2001

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is among the most skilled and significant voices in the history of American rhetoric. The close rhetorical study of her judicial voice illustrates her profound contributions not only to women's rights but also to the ongoing and important struggle toward a more perfect union and equal citizenship for all. ~Katie L. Gibson, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Legacy of Dissent: Feminist Rhetoric and the Law, 2018

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published 2020 Sep 18
last saved 2023 Aug 15