Everyone Needs to Know What "When There Are Nine" Means

It's likely that you've heard the phrase "When there are nine" but you may not know what it means. It all began with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Gina Vaynshteyn - Author

Dec. 24 2020, Updated 6:33 p.m. ET

when there are nine meaning
Source: Getty Images

In 2015, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at Georgetown University about women's equality, something she had been vocal about her entire life (she was not only vocal — she led a revolution). She said, "People ask me sometimes, when — when do you think it will it be enough? When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is when there are nine." "When there are nine" has become a mantra on its own — a strong message about women's empowerment and fight for equal rights to success and representation.

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"When there are nine" meaning:

When the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at Georgetown University, she made a bold (yup, bold, even in this day and age) statement about the lack of representation on the Supreme Court. Of all 115 justices, 110 have been men. So when RBG was asked when there would be "enough" women on the Supreme Court, she naturally answered "When there are nine" because there can be nine Supreme Court justices at one time (one chief justice and eight associate justices). And why not nine women? There have certainly been nine men at once.

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Source: Getty Images
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RBG also stated:

"In the ancient days, when I was going to college, the law wasn't a welcoming profession for women. In those days, in the Southern District, most judges wouldn't hire women. In the U.S. attorney's office, women were strictly forbidden in the Criminal Division. There was one woman in the Civil Division. And the excuse for not hiring women in the Criminal Division was they have to deal with all these tough types, and women aren't up to that. And I was amazed. I said, have you seen the lawyers at legal aid who are representing these tough types? They're all women."

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RBG's death was a colossal loss this year, as she'd been a long-time pioneer for gender equality and really stood for humanity. "She, case by case, brought the all-male Supreme Court along by educating them about how laws predicated on gender stereotypes do not just hold women back; they also hold men back,"UC Berkeley law professor Amanda Tyler shared. Amanda had clerked for RBG for a year. RBG is the reason why women are allowed to be jurors, widowers can receive social security benefits (and not just widows), and she won five out of six major discrimination cases before the Court.

"[Ruth] set the stage, she set the tone, she set the expectation. She engendered all kinds of hope, all kinds of conviction that this was all going to happen. We just had to keep pressing, and we had to keep demanding, and we had to keep the flame lit," RBG's ACLU colleague Kathleen Peratis, stated.

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You can buy "When there are nine" merch.

If you're feeling empowered to keep fighting the good fight and keeping RBG's mission going, you can wear her message on your sleeve. A lot of Etsy sellers have "When there are nine" shirts and merch you can buy.

when there are nine tshirt
Source: Etsy
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Buy this shirt on Etsy. Prices start at $13.52.

when there are nine
Source: Etsy
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You can also get this mug, which is about $19, which might be just the thing you need to start the day every morning. 

Currently, there are three women on the Supreme Court. One day, let's hope there really are nine.

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