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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg turned 82 years old this weekend. She’s still one of the toughest women around and sharper than a razor. Known for her scathing dissents and reputation as the Supreme Court’s most outspoken leftie, she shows no signs of slowing down. Mentally and physically, she’s still going. Ginsberg has defeated cancer twice. Her her trainer promises she can still do 20 “male” pushups. I know a lot of young people who’ve never managed that last feat.
Here are 10 of the Notorious RBG’s most decisive (and amusing) quotes):
1: “Anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided. As long as I can do the job full steam … I think I’ll recognize when the time comes that I can’t any longer. But now I can.” – Speaking to Elle on speculation of her retirement.
2: “Dissents speak to a future age. I do hope that some of my dissents will one day be the law.” – Describing to PBS why her valuable opinions are not wasted.
3: “My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady and the other was to be independent, and the law was something most unusual for those times because for most girls growing up in the ’40s, the most important degree was not your B.A. but your M.R.S.” – Talking to Duke University about women’s rights.
4: “I was part of Jazzercise class. It was an aerobics routine accompanied by loud music, sounding quite awful to me.” – Getting candid with the New Republic about her only regrets
5: “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in 2012 … We were just tremendously fortunate in the U.S. that the men that met in Philadelphia were very wise. It’s true that they were lacking one thing, that is there were no women as part of the Constitutional Convention, but there were women around who sparked the idea” – Speaking towards Egyptian diplomats.
6: “It is not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation.” – Source unknown but widely quoted
7: “I think that the country will wake up and see that it can never go back to [abortions just] for women who can afford to travel to a neighboring state … It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.” – Talking to Elle on current abortion restrictions
8: “People who think you could wave a magic wand, and the legacy of the past is over, are blind.” – Speaking to MSNBC on continuing struggle for race relations
9: “Scalia is my biggest buddy at the opera.” – Assuring an University of California Hastings audience that conservatives and liberals can still be friends
10: “I met Marty when I was 17 and he was 18. He was the only boy I had ever met who cared that I had a brain. In the ’50s, too many women, even though they were very smart, they tried to make the man feel that he was brainier. It was a sad thing.” – Speaking with Elle about her husband, Martin Ginsberg (who passed away in 2010)
11: “I vowed this year just sparkling water — stay away from the wine — but the dinner was so delicious it needed wine.” – Admitting at a press conference (via US News) that she wasn’t completely sober at the 2015 State of the Union address