Mitch McConnell

McConnell, Spears, Osaka: Taking a Look at 2021's Most Notable Quotes

Fred Shapiro, an associate director at the library, assembles a list of noteworthy quotes each year

Britney Spears (left), Naomi Osaka, Mitch McConnell
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A line from a speech given from the U.S. Senate floor before rioters broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6 tops a Yale Law School librarian's list of the most notable quotes of 2021.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was urging fellow Republicans to abandon their effort to overrule the election victory of President Joe Biden when he said: “The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken.”

Moments later, the insurrection began, forcing the Capitol's evacuation.

Fred Shapiro, an associate director at the library, assembles a list of noteworthy quotes each year. He said he picks quotes that are important or revealing of the spirit of the times, not because they are necessarily eloquent or admirable.

The list is a supplement to "The New Yale Book of Quotations," which was edited by Shapiro and published by Yale University Press.

Here is the list:

1. “The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken.” — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, remarks on Senate floor, Jan. 6.

2. “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” — President Joe Biden, televised address, July 8.

3. “We say no more ‘blah blah blah,’ no more exploitation of people and nature and the planet.” — activist Greta Thunberg, remarks to climate protesters, Edinburgh, Scotland, Nov. 1.

4. “When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” — poet Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb” inauguration poem, Jan. 20.

5. “This conservatorship is abusive.” — Britney Spears, statement to court, Los Angeles, June 23.

6. “I communicated that I wanted to skip press conferences at Roland Garros to exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health.” — tennis player Naomi Osaka, Time Magazine, July 19/26 issue.

7. "“In those months when I was pregnant, all around the same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of, he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” — Duchess Megan Markle, remarks about her son Archie, “Oprah with Megan and Harry” CBS interview, March 7.

8. “My name is Cleo.” — Cleo Smith, 4, in response to a policeman upon her rescue from kidnapping, Carnarvon, Australia, Nov. 3.

9. “Presidents are not kings.” — Judge Tanya Chutkan, opinion in case of Trump v. Thompson, Nov. 9.

10. “I am here today because I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.” — whistleblower Frances Haugen, testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee Sub-Committee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, Oct. 5.

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testified on Tuesday about the social media company.
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