Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World - Linda R. Hirshman 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 make the book accessible to laypeople, and I was deeply impressed by the sheer volume of information and research which was included within a relatively short tome (301 pages, in my edition).

The above said, I had some issues with Sisters in Law which ultimately kept me from giving it the 4 or even 5 star review it might otherwise have received. Although I respect Hirshman's right to include and champion whatever personal opinions and political views she would like to through her writing, I do feel that this book went a bit too far in its obvious bias against Justice O'Connor, especially for a book written under the guise of celebrating O'Connor and her achievements. More disturbingly, however, was Hirshman's tendency to allow her own bias to gloss over legal details, to the point where she came very near to mischaracterizing case law and the Court's jurisprudence (or at least ignoring potential opposing arguments, a cardinal sin of any legal analysis). The simplification of complex legal concepts mentioned above, while largely well-done, occasionally combined with Hirshman's obvious bias to create an analysis which was entirely one-sided, overly simplified, and borderline patronizing, not to mention almost unjustly brief. Towards the end of the book especially, when Hirshman disliked or disagreed with the outcome of a case, she simply devoted a few sentences to decrying the Court without even acknowledgedly the reasoning behind the various decisions.

Ultimately, although I did truly enjoy this book, it is the clear lack of objectivity which led to my final rating. Given the choice on Goodreads, I would probably have gone with a slightly more generous 3.5 stars, but as it is, Sisters in Law gets 3 stars for being an admirable, if slightly partisan, piece of biographical nonfiction.