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My Own Words My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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My Own Words Quotes Showing 1-30 of 33
“Rabbi Alfred Bettleheim once said: “Prejudice saves us a painful trouble, the trouble of thinking.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“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, My Own Words
“My mother was very strong about my doing well in school and living up to my potential. Two things were important to her and she repeated them endlessly. One was to ‘be a lady,’ and that meant conduct yourself civilly, don’t let emotions like anger or envy get in your way. And the other was to be independent, which was an unusual message for mothers of that time to be giving their daughters.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“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, My Own Words
“For both men and women the first step in getting power is to become visible to others, and then to put on an impressive show. . . . As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“We may be anxious to reduce crime, but we should remember that in our system of justice, the presumption of innocence is prime, and the law cannot apply one rule to Joe who is a good man, and another to John, who is a hardened criminal.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“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, My Own Words
“the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. Brandeis”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“In Greek mythology, Pallas Athena was celebrated as the goddess of reason and justice.1 To end the cycle of violence that began with Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigenia, Athena created a court of justice to try Orestes, thereby installing the rule of law in lieu of the reign of vengeance.2 Recall also the biblical Deborah (from the Book of Judges).3 She was at the same time prophet, judge, and military leader. This triple-headed authority was exercised by only two other Israelites, both men: Moses and Samuel. People came from far and wide to seek Deborah’s judgment. According to the rabbis, Deborah was independently wealthy; thus she could afford to work pro bono.4 Even if its members knew nothing of Athena and Deborah, the U.S. legal establishment resisted admitting women into its ranks far too long.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“According to Ruth, Nabokov changed the way she read and wrote: “He used words to paint pictures. Even today, when I read, I notice with pleasure when an author has chosen a particular word, a particular place, for the picture it will convey to the reader.” Ruth remembers”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day. “In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through fifty-six years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court of the United States. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“spent no time fretting, and found a way to do what I thought important to get done.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“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, My Own Words
“Cushman, who assigned her to research McCarthy’s assault on civil liberties, “wanted me to understand two things,” Ruth recalls. “One is that we were betraying our most fundamental values, and, two, that legal skills could help make things better, could help to challenge what was going on.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“We children of public school age can do much to aid in the promotion of peace. We must try to train ourselves and those about us to live together with one another as good neighbors for this idea is embodied in the great new Charter of the United Nations. It is the only way to secure the world against future wars and maintain an everlasting peace.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“At Cornell University, professor of European literature Vladimir Nabokov changed the way I read and the way I write. Words could paint pictures, I learned from him. Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“Yet, as the numbers reveal, women in law, even today, are not entering a bias-free profession.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: For both men and women the first step in getting power is to become visible to others, and then to put on an impressive show. . . . As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.XII”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“And I give you this picture because it fairly captures our nearly fifty-year happy marriage, during which I have offered up an astonishing number of foolish pronouncements with absolute assurance, and Ruth, with only limited rancor, has ignored almost every one. A”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“nascent, underfunded Supreme Court. Recent biographies of the great Chief Justice tell how John Marshall used the camaraderie of boardinghouse tables and common rooms, also madeira, to dispel dissent and achieve the one-voiced Opinion of the Court, which he usually composed and delivered himself. The unanimity John Marshall strived to maintain helped the swordless Third Branch fend off attacks from the political branches.9 Although Chief Justice Marshall strictly separated his Court and family life, he did not lack affection for his wife. In a letter from Philadelphia in 1797, John Marshall told Polly of his longing. “I like [the big city] well enough for a day or two,” he wrote Polly, “but I then”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“One is that we were betraying our most fundamental values, and, two, that legal skills could help make things better, could help to challenge what was going on.” 3”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“certain hallmarks of her legal writing and thought—her care in choosing words, her wariness of politically motivated prosecution, her concern that shortcuts in the name of efficiency often reduce effectiveness in the long run, and her unswerving commitment to individual rights and the presumption of innocence—shone through even in that first letter to her college newspaper.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“My mother was very strong about my doing well in school and living up to my potential.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“Less than 3 percent of positions in the federal government at and above GS-16 rank are held by women.8”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“exuberant presence of Justice Scalia, the Court is “a paler place.” The two cases at the top of Justice Ginsburg’s most”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“[T]he principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes—the legal subordination of one sex to the other—is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; . . . it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other. —JOHN STUART MILL,1 The Subjection of Women (1869)”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“Yet, until 1971, the Court turned away every woman’s complaint that she had been denied equal protection by a state or federal law.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“Prejudice saves us a painful trouble, the trouble of thinking.” In our beloved land families were not scattered, communities not erased nor our nation destroyed by the ravages of the World War.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words
“Yet, dare we be at ease? We are part of a world whose unity has been almost completely shattered.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words

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