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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
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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

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  4,323 ratings  ·  684 reviews
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,
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Harper
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Linda What nonsense! Who cares. Delightful read and back stories on two amazing "sisters"!…moreWhat nonsense! Who cares. Delightful read and back stories on two amazing "sisters"!(less)

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Start your review of Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World
Petra-X Off having adventures
This book has been waiting for a final review for more than a year! To sum up, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg came from opposite ends of the spectrum and this is reflected in how they used their power. SDoC came from privilege, from rich White Christian privilege where males are the boss of the home and the providers and women, even when powerful, are careful not to upset men, but are the peacemakers, the ones who will negotiate and compromise. And so she was the swing vote.

Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: scotus
I wish I could give this more stars. I love the concept obviously, there’s a lot of fun gossip, and Hirshman writes about Supreme Court cases in an accessible way. But there were some big and small issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book.

Minor complaints, but the amount of dangling everything is distracting, and the easy conversational style veers into inappropriate cuteness. Sorry not sorry to be a crank, but Justice Powell was not O’Connor’s “new BFF” on the Court, and Gin
Aug 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed this book, regardless of what my lukewarm rating might indicate. It was a fascinating and detailed look at two of the most fascinating and influential women in legal history, and I found myself captivated by both the sweeping historical narrative and the charming anecdotes and facts that Hirshman included, providing greater detail on both the Court itself and its first women. I appreciated Hirshman's ability to simplify the legal details in order to m ...more
This nonfiction reading group pick is subtitled How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went To The Supreme Court And Changed The World. It was a hard book to read for me because all I know about law and courts I learned from watching Perry Mason as a kid and reading thrillers. While the story of the first two women to serve as Justices of the Supreme Court is exciting stuff, I had some trouble following all the cases.

However, some years ago I tried to read The Nine by Jeffrey Toobin a
Britta Böhler
Admittedly, this might not be as 'riveting' for non-lawyers but for me it read like a legal thriller. ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this the week of the Kavanaugh hearings and it was the perfect antidote.

The book is about Ginsberg and O'Connor--their lives, work, and their fight for women. It's a great story that is well told. She even talks about how Ginsberg became a meme. I think she goes easy on them in the places they failed. O'Connor was terrible on race. She seemed reasonable in contrast to others, but she was still bad. Ginsberg also got a lot wrong when it came to inequality. For example, she joined the majo
This is a new book out that was a perfect fit for my reading project of the Supreme Court. The author Linda Hirshman received her law degree and Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Chicago. She practiced law and appeared before the Supreme Court then became a law professor at Brandeis University. In 2002 she retired and now has become a well known author.

I have read biographies about both O’Connor and Ginsburg, but this book excels in portraying the enormous obstacles both women encountered by
Nov 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Meh. I love reading about the Supreme Court and in some ways this was as fun as any other book on the subject, but it also didn't really reveal all that much about the relationship between O'Connor and Ginsburg. It was a bit like two separate biographies joined together. If you've already read Joan Biskupic's biography of O'Connor then you definitely don't need this one to learn about SDOC. The stuff on Ginsburg is really interesting, but joining them together just felt sort of forced.

While the
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
my legal brain enjoyed reading this!!
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is not what it's advertised. It's a book about legal cases heard by the Supreme Court written by a lawyer in lawyer-ese. You'll learn that the author has Ginsberg on a pedestal and chagrined that the first woman on the Supreme Court was a Republican.
The points of law regarding women's fight for equality are interesting. It's a shame they are not taught in high school civics class.

The author could have cut out parts one and two without sacrificing the content of the book. It was tedious ke
Ashley Marie
3.5 stars

While it started out relatively balanced in the early chapters, the book devotes more pages to Ginsburg than to O'Connor - indeed, once O'Connor retires, we only get back to her once or twice in the end of the book. More focus is given to RBG's systematic dismantling of laws centered around gender discrimination, although Hirshman does a good job of pointing out instances where the lady Justices were able to work together.

I must confess I was expecting a book about their relationship,
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Much of what goes on behind closed doors at the U.S. Supreme Court is shrouded in mystery and the subject of much speculation with only the most informed outsiders perspective to offer an informed explanation. Some of this is due to the fiercely guarded access to the nature of conducting the Court's business as well as court personnel and the Justices working papers, some of which are held in secrecy until long after the Justice has passed. Where a current Justice is involved there is even less ...more
Lois R. Gross
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning and insightful review of the careers of Sandra Day O'Connor, the first women on SCOTUS, and the second woman,Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On the surface, the two are as different as chalk and cheese, Sandra a stalwart Westerner with little interest in real feminism other than the fact that she quietly fought her way up the ladder from a traditional country club wife and mother to a member of the court. However, and while she was recognized as the reliable swing vote in many cases, her ...more
Nearly five stars. This is a book with an agenda. This is not merely a biography of these two Supreme Court Justices, though it does cover quite a bit of biographical information. This is a book about feminism and the women's legal civil rights movement. The decisions and careers are described through the lens of the effect on women and women's rights. The author is unapologetic about her view that women should be treated as full, dignified, equal participants in setting their own destinies. Tha ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot in this book about Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg, their lives before serving on the Court, and their bodies of work in general. Both of these women graduated from law school at the top of their classes in the 1950s, and neither one could find work in a law firm. No one would hire a woman at the time, and no judges would hire a woman clerk. O'Connor worked for free for a time, and Ginsburg ended up in academia at first. Incredible how much has changed in 50 years and how much of ...more
Hannah Lucille
DNF with about a third of the book left. I love the concept and the information is interesting but I felt like the book was poorly executed. It ended up being a snooze feast, which was disappointing.
Cheryl Turoczy Hart
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I seldom do a real review of the books I read. Most of them are strictly for my own entertainment and really don't have much redeeming social value. This book, however, is different.

I have probably spent more time in a court room than most trial lawyers because of directing the CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for abused and neglected children and then as the Family Court Administrator, both for 8 counties in southern Idaho. That and having been married to a judge and often sitti
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Finished: 26.12.2018
Genre: non-fiction
Rating: C
I admire both Supreme Justices Sandra Day O'Connor
and Ruth Bader Ginsberg so much.
I wanted to love this book....unfortunately it did not
capture my heart.
Linda Hirshman did not use factual language to
create any emotional feeling for these great women
It was all business as usual.
Feb 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
I actually abandoned the book. It was not so much about the two women's lives as the two women's successes as lawyers. I read the book for a week and didn't even get halfway through. It was one litigation after another leading up to their appointments. It just wasn't what I was expecting. ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought that this book did a great job representing both women. While I knew most of the facts about RBG, it was fascinating to learn more about Sandra Day O'Connor, even if my political thoughts do not fully align with the decisions she made. It is clear that Hirshman thoroughly researched both women; she was able to depict each woman fairly and, in my opinion, accurately. ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in gender equality
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: selection of local book club
For a snapshot of ambivalence on the subject of gender equality, look at Nebraska. It's motto, “Equality before the law,” was adopted shortly after the Civil War and harmonized with the 14th and 15th Constitutional amendments. Should that motto include gender equality? Nebraska initially ratified the Equal Rights Amendment; the following year it reversed that decision. Ruth Bader Ginsburg harbored no such ambivalence. Long before she gained celebrity status as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court ...more
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ginsburg had never heard of O'Connor when she was appointed to the court but O'Connor was much aware of the opinions of Ginsburg and the body of opinions she had contributed to the law. Ginsburg was, however, pleased that O'Connor would join the court. The two women, however, forged an important relationship that changed the lives of women in this country.

The author provides an annotation of the cases on which they worked, the assignment of cases and opinions to them, their agreement and disagre
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an awesome retrospective on the first 2 female Supreme Court justices. I docked it one star only because it's very repetitive. Some readers may like that but you only have to tell me once....I get it.

I am a big RBG fan and this treatment confirmed my thoughts about her.....she is one tough but compassionate boss lady. I learned that she would like to retire but won't because Obama couldn't find another "her" that could get confirmed....the Republicans would filibuster and so she hangs on
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Suzanne Weiner update
Excellent book about the first two female Supreme Court Justices. Both of their backgrounds include being unable to find a job after law school because they were women. Delves a lot into the reasons they make the decisions they did, which often has to do with personal history.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Although it was a slow read, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned a great deal. I cheered as so much progress happened for equal rights, and then wanted to cry as I remembered how many rights have been destroyed with the current supreme court.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
How appropriate that after I finished listening to this audio-book during my commute this morning, I found out that it is RBG's birthday. I am excited to honor her, O'Connor, and every other person who has contributed to gender equality by voting in MO's presidential primary today. ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Wow, I had so much to think about as I read. I came in with VERY little knowledge about the SCOTUS and its proceedings, so the book was a crash course. I'm grateful for that! I admire Sandra Day O'Connor and RBG even more now, and the challenge of joining the Supreme Court as women can't be understated. I did feel like the "dual biography" aspect was not balanced, to the point of awkwardness, in favor of RBG. I was unprepared for the interstitial political connections that underpin the rulings ( ...more
Julian Douglass
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Fantastic Double Biography on the first two Women on the Supreme Court. In this book, Ms. Hirshman doesn't paint the two ladies as completely different personas, but as two people fighting the same cause in different ways. Obviously, most in the liberal circles of American Politics know RBG to be a champion of rights, especially those for females, but she paints Sandra as a more moderate champion for the rights of women too, just in a more moderate way than RBG. Ms. Hirshman shows that there are ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this book three times (3 different book clubs). It get better each time: I learn new and interesting things. There is a stand-alone book, The First, about Sandra Day ‘O’Connor and recently a documentary and (great so I hear) movie about RBG. Given the current political environment (Georgia just past the ant-abortion heartbeat Bill), this book and its meticulous history of RBG’s rise to the Supreme Court, her firm stance for gender equality, and a women’s right to privacy is a must-read for ...more
Dec 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought I knew about the Supreme Court, but this book changed my understanding. I don’t know if it made me more or less worried about...everything...haha

I expected this book to be more biographical, but it ended up being more of a history of the women’s rights movement and, honestly, a love letter to RBG. The author tolerated O’Connor. Despite the author’s bias (she did try to be fair), I really came to admire Justice O’Connor. She was just the right lady to be FWOTSC.

The writing got somewhat
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Play Book Tag: Sisters In Law, by Linda Hirshman; 3 Stars 1 5 Dec 31, 2020 03:08PM  

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