CNN Films’ “RBG” chronicles the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Watch tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg earned her “Notorious RBG.” nickname through decades of fighting for equality, on the bench and off.
She was first a trailblazing attorney for women’s rights, and then the second woman appointed to the high court. She had good humor about her late-in-life fame, like her rapper-inspired moniker.
About her legacy, she said, “To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.”
Here are 10 of her most famous quotes that show her commitment and candor.
1. About women on the court
“When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough (women on the Supreme Court)?’ and my answer is: ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”
2. About men on the court
“They have never been a 13-year-old girl.” – After her male colleagues appeared indifferent about a girl’s strip-search by school administrators
3. To new citizens at a naturalization ceremony
“We are a nation made strong by people like you.”
4. About marriage … and work
“It helps sometimes to be a little deaf (in marriage and in) every workplace, including the good job I have now.”
5. About being a woman
“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”
6. About gender equality
“Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.”
7. On leadership
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
8. On dissent and justice
“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.”
9. On support for abortion rights
“This is something central to a woman’s life, to her dignity. It’s a decision that she must make for herself. And when government controls that decision for her, she’s being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.”
10. About her legacy
“We are at last beginning to relegate to the history books the idea of the token woman.”