Cartoon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

If you like these cartoons, help make them happen by supporting my patreon!

I don’t think there’s anything I can say about Justice Ginsburg that her many admirers haven’t said this week. She was an amazing woman, and the world is a bit bleaker with her gone.

I hope you like the cartoon, or take some comfort from it. I’m honestly nervous to show it to you; this is well outside of my comfort zone.


This cartoon has ten panels, arranged as a 3×3 grid of nine panels, with a wide tenth panel beneath. All of the panels show a maroon wingback chair on an otherwise empty green hill.


In the distance, just beyond the crest of the hill, Justice Ginsberg is looking towards us.

RBG: The notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy i s supposed to be.


RBG has walked to just behind the chair as she continues to speak.

RBG: What greater defeat could we suffer than to come to resemble the forces we oppose in their disrespect for human dignity?


RBG has sat in the chair and look angry, spreading her arms to make a point.

RBG: Throwing out the Voting Rights Act when it has worked and is continuing to work… Is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you’re not getting wet.


Skies have been clear blue up to this point in the cartoon. They have turned a bit grayer, and there are white clouds in the sky.

RBG leans forward a bit in the chair, holding her hands together.

RBG: A gender line helps to keep women not on a pedestal but in a cage.


A close-up of RBG, holding up a forefinger to make a point. For the first time in this cartoon, she’s smiling.

RBG: Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.


RBG has stood up and is walking off the page, with her back turned to us.


The chair sits on the hillside, with no one around. The skies are a bit darker now, and the clouds are gray.


From the right border of the cartoon, RBG leans in for a moment, like someone peering around a wall, to talk to us. She’s smirking a bit.

RBG: When I’m asked “when will there enough women on the Supreme Court,” and I say “when there are nine, people are shocked!


RBG faces the viewer and shrugs.

RBG: But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.


A much wider panels shows a slightly more distant shot of the chair on the hill. No one is in sight. The sky is much darker now, and dark clouds roll in from either side.

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, In the news, Supreme Court Issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

9 Responses to Cartoon: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  1. 1
    Joe in Australia says:

    Awesome. I think I like it the best of all.

  2. 2
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Thank you. Sharing it on facebook.

    Minor accessibility issue: the checkbox for not a robot blends into the light yellow background.

  3. 3
    Jeniene Matthews says:

    You have done RBG proud with your cartoon. Thank you!

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks so much, everyone – I appreciate it. :#)

  5. 5
    c u n d gulag says:

    Great job!
    Maybe the best one yet!

  6. 6
    Petar says:

    I do not really understand the last quote, except as a thought provoking turn of phrase.

    If it means that there is no such thing as “too many women on the Supreme Court”, because its gender demographics should only be a result of the candidates’ qualifications, then great.

    But if it means that there will be never enough women until all members are women, and that is a goal toward which people should work, then I find the argument ridiculous.

    Check this for size “When will there be enough Asian Supreme Court Justices? When all nine are of Asian descent, because no one ever batted an eye when there were none!

  7. 7
    Corso says:


    I think RBG’s point was that the question, “When will there be enough women on the supreme court”, is bad. There’s no such thing as “enough”, it’s a matter of who is best. If nine women were the most qualified jurists, we should have nine women on SCOTUS.

    To explain the misunderstanding; Conservatives don’t trust Progressives, they have no reason to, much the same as how Progressives have no reason to trust Conservatives. And as a symptom of that lack of trust, neither side particularly appreciates vague bumper sticker slogans from the other side, and so when progressives say an add libbed version of “we want more diversity”, there isn’t often a whole lot of nuance attached to that, and it begs a question. “How much more?”. Which is an example of a conservative misunderstanding of a poorly communicated progressive ideal. In this case, the ideal is that all other things being equal, your average body, particularly government bodies, ought to resemble the population they represent.

    While I fully admit that there will be conservative resistance to diversity based on things like a fear that increasing the quality of life of minorities comes at a cost to them, and that manifests in some seriously shitty ways, the fact is that I think the commenters here understand that. I think that progressives are a little bit over their skis on this though, and I think it’s worth considering.

    In recent news, the Wells Fargo CEO is currently walking back comments he made regarding diversity requirements being hard to reach because there is a lack of black applicants. He’s walking those comments back because there was a predictable amount of outrage towards the comments. I don’t know if I’d ever be stupid enough to say that publicly, and I hope that if I did I’d be able to say it better, but I understand where he’s coming from, and he’s probably right. The company I work for recently had to hire a new senior accountant, and I was part of the hiring panel. I live in a community that is actually minority white, with Philipinos and Native Canadians making up more than half the population. We were asking for a CPA, but weren’t expecting one, the next step down would have been someone working towards their designation, and the next step down would be someone with a business-relevant degree. We had zero minority applicants. This didn’t surprise me because the community we operate in has a high Philipino population because local industry (mostly hog plants) specifically recruited immigrant workers, and most of the first generation immigrants are uneducated, and the second generation isn’t old enough to be educated…. yet. I could not possibly have taken a cutting-room worker and called them a senior accountant, it would not have been good for the company, it would not have been fair to the qualified applicants, and realistically, everyone involved knew it, even as we had the lack of diversity in our office tickling the back of our heads. This becomes even more egregious when you scale it up, lawyers need to pass the bar, surgeons need to get their MDs. Once you identify that you require certain standards, then you aren’t hiring out of the local population, you’re hiring out of the relevant pool, and the relevant pool’s demographics almost certainly skews from the population at large.

    That’s not a business problem, that’s not even necessarily a hiring problem, it’s a poverty problem coupled with a cultural problem and an education problem. Focusing on the demographics of who sits in the chairs is looking at the symptoms and not the disease. If there aren’t enough qualified minority applicants, then as opposed to acting as if companies are racist for not giving affirmative action on management roles, we need to try to build the pool.

    Look at the likely SCOTUS appointments, any serious list probably has two men on it for every woman, not because there’s anything inherently superior in men but because there simply aren’t as many female judges in the pool. But regardless of who fills the seat, Trump or Biden, the justice will almost certainly be a woman, and while the justice will certainly be different depending on the nominator, they’re doing it for the same reason. If all we cared about was demographic representation, that might be a good outcome, but I’m not sure it is, because we’re hiding the problem that is the shallow talent pool by artificially inserting diversity.

  8. 8
    a says:

    The problem here is that gender roles were further apart, and more rigidly enforced, in the past. Applying that today doesn’t work as well.

    I read both sides of the political discussion. I’m definitely reading the left (like here) and I read the right. I saw almost the same concept in a cartoon on the right about men’s clubs opening up to women. It showed a 1960s picture of dead army men — all men — with the caption: “This is a men’s club that women definitely don’t want to join”. It went further about the women’s club of fooling around with the army guy’s best friend while he was overseas in crap. I guess going a step further (like the RBG thing above) would be to only send women into combat to get killed today.

    But it doesn’t work, because the past had more rigid gender roles and the present has less rigid gender roles.

    Side note: Corso, that has been my experience too. You have to look at the available pool, and that is just a reality.

  9. 9
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    It’s possible RBG was making a bit of a joke– if a Supreme Court that’s all men isn’t a problem, than a Supreme Court that’s all women shouldn’t be a problem.