Out Of Order: Stories From The History Of The Supreme Court
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“I called this book Out Of Order because it reflects my goal, which is to share a different side of the Supreme Court. Most people know the Court only as it exists between bangs of the gavel, when the Court comes to order to hear arguments or give opinions. But the stories of the Court and the Justices that come from other ‘out of order’ moments add to the richness of the Court as both a branch of our government and a human institution.”—Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
From Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, comes this fascinating book about the history and evolution of the highest court in the land. Justice O’Connor writes here about some of the landmark changes, unique customs, and remarkable people who served on the Court and helped to shape the history of the institution, and of America as a whole.
Out of Order sheds light on the centuries of change and upheaval that transformed the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the remarkable institution that thrives and endures today. From the early days of circuit-riding, when justices who also served as trial judges traveled thousands of miles per year on horseback to hear cases, to the changes in civil rights ushered in by Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall; from foundational decisions such as Marbury vs. Madison to modern-day cases such as Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, Justice O’Connor weaves together stories and lessons from the history of the Court, charting turning points and pivotal moments that would help define our nation’s progress.
With an insider’s unparalleled insight, and her unique perspective as a history-making figure, Justice O’Connor takes us on a personal exploration, painting vivid pictures of justices in history, including Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., one of the greatest jurists of all time; Thurgood Marshall, whose understated and succinct style would come to transform oral argument in the Supreme Court; William O. Douglas, who earned the nickname “The Lone Ranger” thanks to his impassioned and frequent dissents; John Roberts, the current Chief Justice, whom Justice O’Connor considers to be the finest practitioner of oral argument she has ever witnessed in Court; and others. Justice O’Connor provides a rare glimpse into the Supreme Court’s inner workings, showing how cases are chosen for hearing; the friendships and relationships that exist among the Justices; and the customs and traditions, both public and private, that bind one generation of jurists to the next—from the seating arrangements at lunch to the fiercely competitive basketball games played in the Court Building’s top-floor gymnasium, the so-called “highest court in the land.”
Written in a wise, candid, and assured voice, Out of Order is a rich offering of inspiring and engaging stories of one of our country’s most important institutions, from one of our country’s most respected pioneers.
“In this delightful collection of tales, Sandra Day O’Connor shows us the personal side of the Supreme Court while reminding us of the critical role the Court plays. It’s a lovely book—and a valuable treasure for all Americans.”—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs