83+ Best Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an American lawyer and jurist who is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She 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. Powerful Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes will give you the inspiration you need to fight for what’s right and continue to make a difference.

If you’re searching for famous quotations about life that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of Charles Krauthammer quotes, best Ruby Bridges quotes, and top Angela Davis quotes.

Most Famous Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes

I had great good fortune in my life to be alive and have the skills of a lawyer when the women’s movement was revived in the United States. And I think my attitude, my aspirations have not changed since the ’70s. My hope for our society that we’re gonna use the talent of all of the people and not just half of them. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today but for tomorrow. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

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

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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

You would have a huge statelessness problem if you don’t consider a child born abroad a U.S. citizen. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

She never envisioned a legal career for me, but she did think it was very important that I be able to support myself, and I think she would be pleased to see what has become of me. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We had to go on and do the work of the court and we did. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

All respect for the office of the presidency aside, I assumed that the obvious and unadulterated decline of freedom and constitutional sovereignty, not to mention the efforts to curb the power of judicial review, spoke for itself. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

Who will take responsibility for raising the next generation? – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The emphasis must be not on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It is not women’s liberation; it is women’s and men’s liberation. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

Arizona presents no specific reason for excepting capital defendants from the constitutional protections extended to defendants generally, and none is readily apparent. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

The age of consent for sex should be 12 years old. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Our goal in the ’70s was to end the closed-door era. There were so many things that were off limits to women, policing, firefighting, mining, piloting planes. And the stereotypical view of people of a world divided between home and child caring women and men as breadwinners, men representing the family outside the home. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

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

If I resign any time this year, he [President Obama] could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court. … [A]nybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We do not read (the law) to elevate accommodation of religious observances over an institution’s need to maintain order and safety, … We have no cause to believe that (the law) would not be applied in an appropriately balanced way, without sensitivity to security concerns. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I think our system is being polluted by money, – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

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

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

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

You can’t have it all, all at once. Who—man or woman—has it all, all at once? Over my lifespan I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I do think that being the second [female Supreme Court Justice] is wonderful, because it is a sign that being a woman in a place of importance is no longer extraordinary. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious’ community. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

You’re saying, no, state said two kinds of marriage; the full marriage, and then this sort of skim-milk marriage. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

..the United States is subject to the scrutiny of a candid world … what the United States does, for good or for ill, continues to be watched by the international community, in particular by organizations concerned with the advancement of the rule of law and respect for human dignity. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I became a lawyer for selfish reasons. I thought I could do a lawyer’s job better than any other. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

…The Court …[recognizes]…the persistence of racial inequality and a majority’s acknowledgement of Congress’s authority to act affirmatively, not only to end discrimination, but also to counteract discrimination’s lingering effects. Those effects, reflective of a system of racial caste [legal segregation and discrimination] only recently ended, are evident in our workplaces, markets, and neighborhoods. Job applicants with identical resumes, qualifications, and interview styles still experience different receptions, depending on their race. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Every constitution written since the end of World War II includes a provision that men and women are citizens of equal stature. Ours does not. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

The impact of all these restrictions is on poor women, because women who have means, if their state doesn’t provide access, another state does. … It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

I have yet to see a death case among the dozen coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial… People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

Whatever community organization, whether it’s a women’s organization, or fighting for racial justice … you will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

If we gave up our freedom as the price of security, we would no longer be the great nation that we are. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

We live in an age in which the fundamental principles to which we subscribe – liberty, equality and justice for all – are encountering extraordinary challenges, … But it is also an age in which we can join hands with others who hold to those principles and face similar challenges. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sometimes people say unkind or thoughtless things, and when they do, it is best to be a little hard of hearing — to tune out and not snap back in anger or impatience. – 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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One might plausibly contend that Congress violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers when it exonerates itself from the impositions of the laws it obligates people outside the legislature to obey. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Women’s rights are an essential part of the overall human rights agenda, trained on the equal dignity and ability to live in freedom all people should enjoy. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Generalizations about theway women areand 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

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. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We should learn … to do our best for the sake of our communities and for the sake of those for whom we pave the way. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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

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

I think unconscious bias is one of the hardest things to get at. My favorite example is the symphony orchestra. When I was growing up, there were no women in orchestras. Auditioners thought they could tell the difference between a woman playing and a man. Some intelligent person devised a simple solution: Drop a curtain between the auditioners and the people trying out. And, lo and behold, women began to get jobs in symphony orchestras. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

On the #MeToo Movement: I think it will have staying power because people, and not only women, men as well as women, realize how wrong the behavior was and how it subordinated women. So, we shall see, but my prediction is that it is here to stay. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If you’re a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that’s okay… we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be and not be held back by artificial barriers. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My first encounter with [clubs that were men-only] was when my husband was working for a law firm in New York, and they had a holiday party at a club that did not admit women. The women associates let it be known that that was improper. They weren’t listened to. So, the next year, none of the women associates showed up at the holiday party. And the year after that, the holiday party was held at a place that welcomed women as well as men. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We are doing a lot better. When I was in my last year of law school, I was attending Columbia Law School, my daughter was between three and four. There was only one nursery school in that entire area. They would take a child from 9 to 12 or 2 to 5. By the time my daughter was a mother herself, and teaching at Columbia Law School, there were over two dozen full day daycare facilities in that area. A few of my law clerks have taken parental leave, male law clerks. It’s more common than it once was. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

Just think how you would like the women in your family to be treated, particularly your daughters. And when you see men behaving in ways they should not, you should tell them this is improper behavior. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

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