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Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World Hardcover – September 1, 2015
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“Vital...Part of what makes Hirshman such a likable writer — in addition to her wit and ability to explain the law succinctly without dumbing it down — is her optimism.” (Washington Post)
“Fast-paced and sure-footed...persuasive...Hirshman’s ability to write clearly about the law without oversimplifying enables her to explain how O’Connor played defense and Ginsburg offense.” (Huffington Post)
“A lovely, thoughtful, and fascinating chronicle of [O’Connor and Ginzburg’s] careers and lives that doubles as a concise history of the fight for equality for women.” (SCOTUS blog)
“Carefully researched and enjoyably written” (Wall Street Journal)
For anyone interested in the court, women’s history or both, the story of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, their separate routes to the Supreme Court and what they accomplished during the more than 12 years they spent together is irresistible. (Linda Greenhouse, New York Times Book Review)
“Linda Hirshman’s joint biography of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is fascinating and informative but is also joyful -- a stirring reminder of how these two pioneers for women’s rights have advanced the cause in their singular but complementary ways.” (Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath and The Nine)
“A tale of two unfaltering women with steel-trap minds, their unlikely rapport, and the legal landscape they battle to reshape. Smart, startling, and profoundly moving.” (Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life)
“Linda Hirshman has written a thorough, accurate, and most readable account of the careers of the two first women to serve as Justices of the Supreme Court. Laymen as well as lawyers will learn a great deal, not only about these two special people, but about today’s Court as well.” (Justice John Paul Stevens)
“A riveting page-turner that will make you laugh, cry, and seethe with frustration at how long and hard the road to women’s equality has been. Above all, it will inspire and delight. A prodigious achievement and an important contribution to the history of our times.” (Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake)
“This sharply-drawn double portrait of the first and second women on the U.S. Supreme Court and the way their lives and legal philosophies complement and contrast with each other is riveting. Linda Hirshman has the unique ability to think like a law professor and write like a journalist.” (Lynn Hecht Schafran, National Judicial Education Program, Legal Momentum)
From the Back Cover
NPR Best Book of 2015
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER
The author of the celebrated Victory tells the fascinating story of the intertwined lives of Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first and second women to serve as Supreme Court justices.
The relationship between Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—Republican and Democrat, Christian and Jew, western rancher’s daughter and Brooklyn girl—transcends party, religion, region, and culture. Strengthened by each other’s presence, these groundbreaking judges, the first and second to serve on the highest court in the land, have transformed the Constitution and America itself, making it a more equal place for all women.
Linda Hirshman’s dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession—battles that would ultimately benefit every American woman. She also makes clear how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women’s lives.
Sisters-in-Law combines legal detail with warm personal anecdotes that bring these very different women into focus as never before. Meticulously researched and compellingly told, it is an authoritative account of our changing law and culture, and a moving story of a remarkable friendship.
Top Customer Reviews
Much of the early portion of this nearly 400 page book is devoted to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her pioneering and lonely fight to attack legal discrimination against women beginning around 1970. Ginsburg, who directed the ACLU's Women's Rights Project (initially while teaching at Rutgers Law School; later a Columbia) chose to follow a "careful incremental strategy." Cases were carefully selected in order to develop a doctrinal bridge to the final goal. This is just one of the ways in which Ginsburg resembled Thurgood Marshall's strategy in the civil rights cases. Her ultimate goal was to get the Supreme Court to equate sex discrimination with race discrimination and apply the corresponding strict legal tests when evaluating claims of sexual discrimination. The author discusses the early major cases, including Reed v. Reed, Frontiero v. Richardson, and Kahn v. Shevlin. Interestingly enough, Ginsburg was not happy with the Roe v. Wade decision's reasoning, since she much preferred that it be based on a strict equality argument rather than the new right to privacy.
While perhaps an overstatement, to me Ginsburg seems to be the heroine of the book while O'Connor stands somewhat in her shadow.Read more ›
Looking back from our vantage point of 2015, most women can be grateful that we live and work in a world that doesn't try to protect us from serving on juries, managing the estates of deceased relatives, or competing in schools or jobs once considered too tough for women. Does women's progress reflect the Supreme Court's rulings, or has the nature of the rulings adapted to the changing mores of the general public? Hirshman does not address this question directly, but after reading the book, I see both as contributing factors.
This is not truly a biography of either justice, though Hirshman describes the formative years of both.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book, well written, the untold story of two very remarkable women who helped the women's cause baby step by baby step.Published 3 hours ago by TD
I have to admit, I absolutely slogged through this book. It was difficult to read, and I frequently had to reread passages to make sure I understood what the author was trying to... Read morePublished 15 hours ago by Kindle Customer
As a huge fan of RBG! I found this a very informative and interesting read.Published 7 days ago by Joe
At times the narrative could be difficult to follow. But overall a good take on th changes in the Supreme Court wrought over time by these two women.Published 12 days ago by dtk
i couldn't even finish it, nor could several members of my book club. None of us liked it. Her writing style bounced back and forth, and we were all looking forward to learning the... Read morePublished 13 days ago by priscilla borchardt