Discussion Questions

My Own Words

by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  1. Justice Ginsburg pays homage to several “pathmakers” and “waypavers” who inspired her along her way, including many Jewish women. Who were the notable “waypavers” in your life? How have they influenced your path?
  2. Justice (tzedek) plays a central role in the Jewish tradition, as Ginsburg discusses throughout her book. She writes,
    “I am a judge, born, raised, and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice runs through the entirety of the Jewish tradition. I hope, in all the years I have the good fortune to serve on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, I will have the strength and courage to remain steadfast in the service of that demand”(p. 88).
    How did you see this “demand for justice” play out in Ginsburg’s career? In what ways do you see her Judaism influencing her legal style?
  3. Throughout her writings and speeches, Ginsburg displays a markedly moderate tone, pointing to the importance of “collegiality in style, and…moderation in the substance of appellate decisionmaking” (p. 228). Was there a specific legal proceeding that stood out to you as an example of this even-handed approach?
  4. Ginsburg talks at length about her respect and love for friend and colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia. Despite their ideological differences, they forged a solid friendship that lasted decades. What does this tell you about Ginsburg’s nature? How do her personal and professional relationships reflect her character overall?
  5. The face of the Supreme Court has changed greatly since Justice Ginsburg took the official oath on August 10, 1993. What do you see as her legacy, both on the court and off?
  6. How did the writings of young Ruth “Kiki” Bader strike you? Do you see any young women today who show this type of leadership, maturity, and promise?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Questions." (Viewed on February 3, 2023) <https://jwa.org/programs/bookclub/discussionquestions/my-own-words>.

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