Friday, February 26, 2016


The scholarly and earnest approach to serious topics was upended a couple of years ago with Roz Chast’s graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? about being a caregiver for her aging and dying parents. Now we have a love letter to a Supreme Court Justice in Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Rap fans will know the title is an homage to the late singer Notorious B.I.G. The Court stays in the news, with the death of Justice Scalia, but there always seems to be an interest in the women on the court.

Illustrated with photos recording the life of Ginsburg, Notorious RBG also includes selfies, cartoons and even what looks like a costume contest of ladies, babies and dogs dressed like the esteemed justice. Readers will find more than fun in this book however. It is an astute look at a determined feminist hero who was a winning lawyer before she moved to the court.

Another book that deserves reading is Sisters-in-Law about Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the court, and Ginsburg, the woman that followed her. Author and Court observer Linda Hirshman has written a book that not only probes the legal careers of each justice, but also gives insight into how the justice system works, including information on how nominees are selected (right now a really hot topic) and the role networking and promoting plays in the selection, how justices choose their clerks and how much influence the clerks have.  Sisters-in-Law also shows the respect the two esteemed colleagues had (O’Connor retired; Ginsburg still serves) for each other. If you are wondering: the two other current women justices are Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

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