Short Take: Sisters in Law – Linda Hirshman

This book looks at the relationship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg –“the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s movement” — and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Author Hirshman is herself an attorney, which gives this book added depth and insight. But this by no means a dry look at just their legal lives. It’s the story of an unlikely intellectual friendship, one that transcended barriers of party, religion, region and culture—and one that shows how the mutual support between Brooklyn girl and rancher’s daughter ­transformed the Constitution and laws of the nation to make it a more equal place for millions of women.

“[A] dual biography of the first two women appointed to the SCOTUS…[Hirshman] explores the two justices’ very different personalities and how their experiences as pioneering women in the legal profession informed their approaches to constitutional law. Of particular interest are Hirshman’s descriptions of the respective paths O’Connor and Ginsburg took to reach the Supreme Court. O’Connor, an obscure Arizona appellate judge, mixed extraordinary social skills, fierce self-reliance, and Republican connections to secure her historic nomination. Ginsburg…parlayed her work on a number of pivotal cases regarding the constitutional rights of women into her coveted appointment. Hirshman illuminates how Ginsburg and O’Connor navigated the high-stakes internal politics of the Supreme Court….Hirshman’s conversational style and deep analysis of several precedent-setting constitutional cases should appeal to both casual and professional readers.”
Publishers Weekly

“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

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World (9780062238467) by Linda Hirshman. $28.99 hardcover. 9/1/15 on sale.

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