clock menu more-arrow no yes

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on working out, body piercings, and the dangers of tattoos

Ruth Bader Ginsburg did an interview with MSNBC's Irin Carmon on the Rachel Maddow Show on Monday night, during which she discussed her extreme swole bro attitude towards working out and the dangers of tattoos:

The Notorious RBG's gym habits would put any Crossfitter to shame

Justice Ginsburg works out with a trainer, and she is intense about it. So intense, in fact, that when she recently suffered an acute bout of cardiac pain while exercising, she didn't even want to pause her workout, much less go to the hospital. It's good that she did, though: it turned out that she had a blocked coronary artery and needed an emergency stent put in.

The description of the workout-induced coronary event starts at about 1:30 in the video above. (Reminder: she is 81 years old):

Ginsburg: The most recent episode occurred when I was with my personal trainer. And suddenly, my chest felt so constricted. And I broke out in a sweat. I was overwhelmingly nauseous. So I said, "Well, I stayed up all night last night writing an opinion. So I'm just exhausted. I'll rest for awhile." I was very stubborn.

My trainer called my secretary-- my wonderful secretary, who had already gone home to Annapolis. She came back. And in her gently persuasive way, she said, "We're putting you in an ambulance and taking you to the hospital. You really must go." And-- of course, I got there. And they gave me an E.K.G. And it showed-- whatever it showed, they whisked me up to the catheter place.

And it was a blocked right coronary artery. As soon as they put this stent in — I was awake during the procedure, groggy, but still awake — as soon as the stent was in place, I was fine. No more constriction in my chest. I wanted to go home. And they said, "No, we're not gonna let you go home. You-- you have to stay here for two nights to be sure." I did that.

That's right: octogenarian jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg stays up all night writing opinions and then works out so hard the next day she puts herself in the hospital. Also she can do 20 pushups. How many can you do, bro?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not think you should get a tattoo of her face, but she is flattered that you are considering it

Later in the interview, (at about 9:30 in the clip above), Carmon held up a photo of a tattoo done by DC tattoo artist Nikki Lugo, depicting Ginsburg's face above a banner that says "Supreme." Ginsburg said she was "a little distressed that people are doing that," even though it was a "nice sentiment." Her advice is to get a nose ring instead:

Ginsburg: I saw that. And I thought it was — I thought it was a joke. I thought it was something you pasted onto your arm. But I'm a little distressed that people are really doing that.

Carmon: Distressed why?

Ginsburg: Because why would you make something that can't be removed on yourself?

I mean, it's one thing to make holes that you can use or not. My granddaughter for awhile was wearing a nose ring. Now she's not anymore. But a tattoo you can't remove.

Carmon: Well, I think it's because they admire you, that's why. This is the second tattoo I'm aware of. The other one has a picture of you. And it says, "Respect the bench."

Ginsburg: Well, that's a nice sentiment

Got that, kids? Tattoos are permanent. Nose rings are practical. That's the kind of smart thinking that gets you onto the Supreme Court.