By Ms. JD Summer Book Series • June 08, 2008•Ms. JD, Ms. JD Book Reviews
Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice, By: Joan Biskupic
In this biography of Sandra Day O'Connor, author Joan Biskupic takes the reader through the life of O'Connor, from her early days on the Lazy B Ranch through her time on the Supreme Court. Biskupic portrays O'Connor as a sharp-witted, intelligent, and lively member of the Supreme Court.
As a longtime court observer and journalist, Biskpuic is able to reveal much about O'Connor's life due to the use of the justices' once private papers. The author specifically pays attention to O'Connor as the first female justice on the Supreme Court. In one anecdote, Biskupic recounts a story of when the Supreme Court Justices were discussing a case. During the discussion, Justice Scalia spoke out against affirmative action. O'Connor replied: "Why, Nino, how do you think I got my job?"
Biskupic's discussion of the Court years focuses largely on the Court itself as opposed to O'Connor's actual thoughts about the working of the Court. The author, however, does describe O'Connor as one who would "step to the brink, and then back away." Biskupic's mixed review of O'Connor's work on the court lends a humanity to O'Connor. Ultimately, O'Connor is portrayed as the trail-blazer that she is - first woman on the Court, a real woman, with opinions, ideas, challenges and engaged in a constant process of personal development.