There are only two times when the public pays attention to Supreme Court Justices: when they make a ruling on a controversial, well-publicized case, or when a new Justice is being approved. That's when names like Roberts, Marshall, Scalia, Ginsburg and O'Connor become regular topics of conversation. Nominee Neil Gorsuch faces his confirmation hearings starting today.
There is a sense of mystery that surrounds these individuals. They have life appointments and the power to change (or end) lives. It can be even difficult to think of them even as people. Can you imagine someone like Clarence Thomas as an RV tourist? Apparently, that is how he likes to spend his spare time. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg loves to hit the gym.
Regardless of liberal or conservative leanings, these are the influential legal minds who have and will set the course of U.S. justice for decades. Listening to the words of justices past and present may help you follow a more righteous path.
1. "More important than your obligation to follow your conscience, or at least prior to it, is your obligation to form your conscience correctly." - Antonin Scalia
2. "So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune." -Ruth Bader Ginsburg
3. "I do know one thing about me: I don't measure myself by others' expectations or let others define my worth." -Sonia Sotomayor
4. "The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true. This is the ordinary course in a free society. The response to the unreasoned is the rational; to the uninformed, the enlightened; to the straight-out lie, the simple truth." - Anthony Kennedy
5. "If children do not understand the Constitution, they cannot understand how our government functions, or what their rights and responsibilities are as citizens of the United States." - John Roberts
6. "Independence means you decide according to the law and the facts." - Stephen Breyer
7. "The Supreme Court, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals. But the Court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people." - Elena Kagan
8. "Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom." - Sandra Day O'Connor
9. "Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done." -Louis Brandeis
10. "To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well." - John Marshall
11. "In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute." - Thurgood Marshall
12. "I don't know that there are any short cuts to doing a good job." -Sandra Day O'Connor
13. "You know, failure hurts. Any kind of failure stings. If you live in the sting, you will--undoubtedly--fail. My way of getting past the sting is to say no, I'm just not going to let this get me down."- Sonia Sotomayor
14. "When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free." - Charles Evan Hughes
15. "Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for." - Earl Warren
16. "The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
17. "The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected." - William O. Douglas
18. "If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you." - Louis Brandeis
19. "A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company." - Charles Evan Hughes
20. "There are no menial jobs, just menial attitudes." - William J. Brennan.
21. "If it is a mistake of the head and not the heart don't worry about it, that's the way we learn." - Earl Warren
22. "The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes