The Notorious RBG has served as one of the most powerful voices on the U.S. Supreme Court since she was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She has been a leader for women and for progressive values from day one. Here are some of the things she has said that will make you appreciate her presence on the bench for the last 13 years.
1. Talking about the depressing Hobby Lobby ruling:
“[J]ustices 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.” — Justice Ginsburg with Katie Couric
2. RBG being a trailblazer:
“My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent. The study of law was unusual for women of my generation. For most girls growing up in the ’40s, the most important degree was not your B.A., but your M.R.S.” – Justice Ginsburg
3. Describing what feminism is and why it’s important:
“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.”
— Justice Ginsburg said in Makers
4. What true equality looks like:
“Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”
— Justice Ginsburg said in The Record
5. RBG was asked in 1993 if she thought men and women had equal rights in decisions on abortion.
“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. If you impose restraints, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex…. The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality.” — Justice Ginsburg
6. What about women on the court?
“[W]hen 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.”
— Justice Ginsburg said in an interview with 10th Circuit Bench & Bar Conference at the University of Colorado in Boulder
7. RBG on abortion and choice:
“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.” —Justice Ginsburg in a 2009 interview with the New York Times.
8. The worst decision ever?
“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.” —Justice Ginsburg said in an interview.
9. Why writing the dissenting opinion is important:
“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.”
— Justice Ginsburg said in an interview on Live with Bill Maher
Happy birthday RBG! May you live to be one hundred years old.