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50 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes on Standing for Justice

A true pioneer for women, allow these Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to empower you.

Published on January 17, 2019 10:48 AM EST
ruth bader ginsburg quotes

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an inspiration in her own right. 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.

ruth bader ginsburg quotes

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.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes on standing for justice5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to inspire you

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

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.

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