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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes on Standing for Justice

A true pioneer, allow these Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to empower and inspire you.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a true inspiration and legal icon, who passed away on September 18th, 2020. She has faced many trials and tribulations and held on to her beliefs and remained unflinching in her drive to stand for what is right. This Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes collection will empower you to stand for what is right in your mind, too.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States who is credited for successfully fighting against gender discrimination and unifying the liberal block of the court.

Born on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, Ginsburg’s early life was heavily influenced by her mother who instilled a love of education in her. She excelled in academia, graduating at the top of her class at Cornell University in 1954, and again graduating first in her class at Columbia Law in 1959.

Ginsburg has faced a lot of adversity in her life, including the death of her beloved mother the day before her high school graduation, gender-based discrimination, and having to care for her cancer-stricken husband while maintaining her studies at Harvard Law.

But despite all these challenges, Ginsburg has still flourished. She has not allowed her personal struggles to deter her from reaching and exceeding her goals and dreams.

Still among the most avid questioners on the bench today, Justice Ginsburg has proven time and again that she is a force to be reckoned with. In that respect, here are some powerful Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to inspire you.

Also read these thoughtful lawyer quotes about justice for all.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes on standing for justice

1. “We have the oldest written constitution still in force in the world, and it starts out with three words, ‘We, the people.’” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

3. “Rabbi Alfred Bettleheim once said: “Prejudice saves us a painful trouble, the trouble of thinking.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

4. “I don’t say women’s rights—I say the constitutional principle of the equal citizenship stature of men and women.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

5. “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes on standing for justice

6. “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

7. “We should not be held back from pursuing our full talents, from contributing what we could contribute to the society, because we fit into a certain mold ― because we belong to a group that historically has been the object of discrimination.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

8. “The emphasis must not be on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg (see more quotes about abortion)

9. “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.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

10. “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.’” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to inspire you to stand for what’s right

11. “America is known as a country that welcomes people to its shores. All kinds of people. The image of the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus’ famous poem. She lifts her lamp and welcomes people to the golden shore, where they will not experience prejudice because of the color of their skin, the religious faith that they follow.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

12. “You think about what would have happened … Suppose I had gotten a job as a permanent associate. Probably I would have climbed up the ladder and today I would be a retired partner. So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune.”- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

13. “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.”- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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14. “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.”- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

15. “Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that changed their abortion laws before Roe are not going to change back. So we have a policy that only affects poor women, and it can never be otherwise.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

16. ”I do hope that some of my dissents will one day be the law.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to inspire you to stand for what's right

17. “I think our system is being polluted by money.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

18. “People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

19. “Members of the legislature, people who have run for office, know the connection between money and influence on what laws get passed.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

20. “Promoting active liberty does not mean allowing the majority to run roughshod over minorities. It calls for taking special care that all groups have a chance to fully participate in society and the political process.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Also check out these immigration quotes debating the social issue.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes that prove she’s a force to be reckoned with

21. “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of religious quotes from all over the world.

22. “Prisons should be co-ed because separate quarters are discriminatory.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

23. “A prime part of the history of our Constitution is the story of the extension of constitutional rights to people once ignored or excluded.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

24. “There is a Constitutional right to prostitution.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

26. “So now the perception is, yes, women are here to stay. And when I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]? And 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

27. “I am a judge born, raised, and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice runs through the entirety of the Jewish tradition. I hope, in my years on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, I will have the strength and the courage to remain constant in the service of that demand. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

28. “Generalizations about the “way women are” and 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.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

29. “I think 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.” Interview with The New York Times in 2009. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

30. “Anger, resentment, envy, and self-pity are wasteful reactions. They greatly drain one’s time. They sap energy better devoted to productive endeavors.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to inspire you in your career

31. “So now the perception is, yes, women are here to stay. And when I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]? And 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

32. “A gender line… helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

33. “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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34. “All I can say is I am sensitive to discrimination on any basis because I have experienced that upset.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

35. “The Sixth Amendment secures to persons charged with crime the right to be tried by an impartial jury reflecting a fair cross-section of the community.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of community quotes about the power of connecting with others.

36. “I try to teach through my opinions, through my speeches, how wrong it is to judge people on the basis of what they look like, color of their skin, whether they’re men or women.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

37. “I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to inspire you in your career

38. “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.’” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

39. “We still have many neighborhoods that are racially identified. We still have many schools that even though the days of state-enforced segregation are gone, segregation because of geographical boundaries remains.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

40. “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.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Don’t forget to also read these timeless Thurgood Marshall quotes on law, race, and more.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to inspire you

41. “I always ask my law clerks, in addition to reading all the briefs, including all the amici briefs, that if there’s a good law review article, they should bring it to me.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

42. “I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of listening quotes that express the importance of listening.

43. “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.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

44. “If you’re going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

45. “When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

46. “It is not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

47. “Racial discrimination in elections in Texas is no mere historical artifact. To the contrary, Texas has been found in violation of the Voting Rights Act in every redistricting cycle from and after 1970.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

48. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

49. “People who think you could wave a magic wand and the legacy of the past will be over are blind.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

50. “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to elevate your mind

51. “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

52. “I said on the equality side of it, that it is essential to a woman’s equality with man that she be the decision-maker, that her choice be controlling.” –Ruth Bader Ginsburg

53. “Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

54. “The written argument endures. The oral argument is fleeting.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

55. “If I had any talent God could give me, I would be a great diva.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

56. “My dissenting opinions, like my briefs, are intended to persuade. And sometimes one must be forceful about saying how wrong the Court’s decision is.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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57. “Who will take responsibility for raising the next generation?” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

58. “I would not like to be the only woman on the court.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

59. “When contemplated in its extreme, almost any power looks dangerous.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

60. “It is not like I have gone crazy, I just don’t want to take any chances. You never know what could happen.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes that will elevate your perspective

61. “Work hard on each opinion, but once the case is decided, don’t look back; go on to the next case and give it your all. It’s not productive to worry about what’s out and released, over and done. That’s advice I now give to people new to the judging business.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

62. “Every girl and every boy that’s born alive is either a little liberal or else a little conservative.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

63. “No one who is in business for profit can foist his or her beliefs on a workforce that includes many people who do not share those beliefs.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

64. “In most civil law systems there are no dissents. There is a single opinion for the court: it is unanimous; it is highly stylized; you can’t tell which judge wrote it.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

65. “When police or prosecutors conceal significant exculpatory or impeaching material, we hold, it is ordinarily incumbent on the state to set the record straight.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

66. “I’m not very good at promotion.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

67. “Legislators know much more about elections than the Court does.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

68. “My rule was I will not answer a question that attempts to project how I will rule in a case that might come before the court.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

69. “Depriving a parent of parental status is as devastating as a criminal conviction.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

70. “When I graduated from law school in 1959, there wasn’t a single woman on any federal bench. It wouldn’t be a realistic ambition for a woman to want to become a federal judge.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

More Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes

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

72. “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

73. “Yet what greater defeat could we suffer than to come to resemble the forces we oppose in their disrespect for human dignity?” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

74. “Speak you mind even if your voice shakes.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

75. “I remember envying the boys long before I even knew the word feminism, because I liked shop better than cooking or sewing.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

76. “Spent no time fretting, and found a way to do what I thought important to get done.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

77. “Each part of my life provided respite from the other and gave me a sense of proportion that classmates trained only on law studies lacked.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

78. “Be independent and be a lady.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

79. “My mother was very strong about my doing well in school and living up to my potential.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

80. “In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Did you enjoy these Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes?

Despite all the adversity she’s faced in her life, Ginsburg’s career is inspiring to say the least. She is incomparable and should be every woman’s hero.

If she had listened to other people’s expectations of her, Ginsburg would not be the most successful litigator on the Supreme Court bench today. So hopefully, the above quotes have inspired you to go after your dreams no matter what your critics think or say.

Which of these Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes was your favorite? Do you have any other inspiring quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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  1. Helen

    September 18, 2020 at 9:16 PM

    Ruth Ginsburg was a remarkable woman.
    She will be missed!

  2. Drumchik

    July 9, 2020 at 11:05 PM

    Just an observation – in the interest of accuracy – the 5th quote listed (“I ask no favor for my sex…”) was not originally RBG. While slightly paraphrased, the source is actually Sarah Grimke, a 19th century feminist. (Letters on the equality of the sexes, and the condition of woman. … Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873.)

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