Who’s the favorite Supreme Court justice of judges?

A biopic on Ruth Bader Ginsburg starring Felicity Jones (Rogue One, The Theory of Everything) and titled “On the Basis of Sex” is set to begin filming this fall and hit the screens in the near future. Judging from this month’s survey results, quite a few judges will eagerly await the film’s release.

The “Notorious R.B.G.,” as she’s fondly called by some (a reference to the rapper The Notorious B.I.G.), was the runaway winner in our Question of the Month for August, which asked, “Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?”

Ruth Bader Ginsberg tattoo

Photo of Rachel Fink / Tattoo artist: Nikki Lugo

“How could she not be everyone’s favorite? RBG kicks ass!” commented one judge anonymously, as was the case with most of the judges who posted comments.

Ginsburg received 35 percent of vote followed by Sonia Sotomayor with 15 percent. Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch tied at 12 percent, followed by John Roberts (9 percent) and Anthony Kennedy (8 percent). A total 526 votes were cast.

“She possesses all the qualities I believe a good judge should have: a keen intellect, a strong sense of fairness and compassion, and a commitment to seeing justice prevail,” wrote one judge who voted for Ginsburg.

Others cited her advocacy for equality and women’s rights (the focus of the upcoming movie). One judge called her a role model for girls and women. Another judge who self-identified as African American said Ginsburg, who is Jewish, understands the struggle of minorities.

Ginsburg is known for her candor and bluntness, both in speaking to the public and in her judicial opinions. “I hope I have half the chops she has at her age,” wrote one judge.

Her friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia was mentioned by several as an example of two people who are able see eye to eye despite ideological differences.

Every other justice except Stephen Breyer received at least one comment. Here’s a sample of them along with their vote total. Breyer received 19 votes.

Sonia Sotomayor (77 votes)
“Justice Sotomayor is thorough in her opinions which are consistently informed, intelligent, and focused. I think she is competent without being brash, and above all, [she is] fair.”

Neil Gorsuch (61)
“I didn’t know who Gorsuch was this time last year. [Since then] I’ve read his writings, watched a speech he delivered, and have read his Supreme Court decisions, and he is definitely now my favorite. Besides the fact that I generally agree with his legal reasoning and decisions, his style of writing and how he carries himself are perfect. I strive to be more like him now.”

Clarence Thomas (61)
“I love Justice Thomas’ life story, his courtesy to attorneys arguing cases before the court by not constantly interrupting them with questions, and his conservative approach to cases.”

John Roberts (49)
“I think [he] has done a good job trying to maintain a balance in the Court during these highly politicized times. I may not always agree with him, but he has attempted to conduct himself and the operation of the Court in a non-partisan manner.”

Anthony Kennedy (43)
“[I chose Kennedy because] he is the most likely to leave politics out of his decision-making. He is often the swing vote for the court on the most controversial issues because he doesn’t always back one view or the other as many other justices do on both sides. Justice Kennedy appears to me to be the most open-minded of the nine justices.”

Samuel Alito (23)
“Justice Alito is the all-around great justice. He’s perhaps too conservative for some, but he is a great jurist.”

Elena Kagan (9)
“I know very little of Kagan’s philosophy. I am, however, in awe of her accomplishments at such a relatively young age.”

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