Saturday, May 28, 2016

Gifts from the Goddess of Jurisprudence

WCWonline: Gifts from the Goddess of Jurisprudence, by Ruthann Robson:

Ruthann Robson reviews two recent books on the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court: Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sisters in Law by Linda Hirshman’s compares and contrasts the two justices.  Notorious RBG focuses on Justice Ginsburg.  Robson praises the books for their ability to "navigate the difficult task of writing accessibly for readers unfamiliar with legal feminism while also captivating readers well versed in it."

Any feminist working on legal issues today is indebted to the work of Ginsburg as well as to O’Connor, even if we disagree with them. While Hirshman calls both O’Connor and Ginsburg “icons” and “beacons,” she admits that it is only in retrospect that the rather conservative and uninspiring O’Connor is revealed as a “gift from the gods of jurisprudence.” As the Supreme Court is poised to deliver important decisions this term—which have the potential to allow states to seriously curtail abortion; to forbid public universities to pursue affirmative action; to weaken public employee unions; and to strengthen religious organizations’ resistance to sex equality—we will be looking to the current gifts from the goddess of feminist jurisprudence on the court: Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. And with controversial conservative Justice Scalia now gone—he died unexpectedly February 13, 2016—perhaps the next justice will be another gift.

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