Women of the Supreme Court: Books, Films, Videos, Blogs & Quotes

The Supreme Court begins its term on the first Monday of October.  Listed below is a collection of resources available at the Law Library on the Supreme Court, with a focus on the women justices. These resources highlights their lives, writings and legal philosophies.

The first female United States Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, was nominated by Ronald Reagan, confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 21, 1981, and sworn in on September 25, 1981.  Since that historical event, three other remarkable women have been appointed to the Supreme Court: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (Clinton, 1993) Sonia Sotomayor, (Obama, 2009) and Elana Kagan (Obama, 2010). 

Research Guides

The UW Law Library's research guide on the Supreme Court is a great place to begin your research, you can link to the guide at, United States Supreme Court Justices.   This guide is a comprehensive tool for locating books, articles, opinions and biographical information on the Supreme Court Justices.

Hollywood & the First Female Justice

As Sandra Day O'Connor was going through both the nomination & confirmation process, a film, based on a play by the same name, the First Monday in October, was released late that summer. This film focuses on Ruth Loomis as the first female justice confirmed to the court and her relationship to her male counterparts on the court, especially her rivalry with one liberal court justice, Dan Snow.  During the course of their relationship, these individuals learn to respect each other through a series of comic encounters.   A newspaper review of that film, Hollywood's First Female Justice, dated August 12, 1981, discusses the timing of the release of this film and the reality of the first confirmation of a female Supreme Court justice.  It's an interesting time capsule of the events of that time.

Also included in the Law Library collection of the first female justice is the 60 minute interview with Sandra Day O'Connor which you can access through the library's catalog: 60 Minutes.  Sandra Day O'Connor and another video, Sandra Day O'Connor : Supreme Court's first female justice (Commonwealth Club)

SCOTUSBlog

A comprehensive blog on the Supreme Court is the SCOTUSBlog.  This blog provides calendars, merit cases, petitions, court statistics, videos and special features.   If you would like to read Justice Sotomayor's dissent in Utah v. Strieff, you can locate it on this blog. Recently, SCOTUSBlog posted a video of the Kastenmeier Lecture with Justice Sotomayor, Justice Sotomayor at the Wisconsin Union Theater.

Books at the Law Library

Listed below are books from the library catalog including a collection of autobiographies by the women of the Supreme Court.   

Lazy B : growing up on a cattle ranch in the American Southwest by Sandra Day O'Connor

The majesty of the law : reflections of a Supreme Court Justice by Sandra Day O'Connor

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Notorious RBG : the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon

The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women : from obstacles to options by Nicola Gutgold

Sandra Day O'Connor : how the first woman on the Supreme Court became its most influential justice by Joan Biskupic

Sandra Day O'Connor Justice in the Balance by Ann McFeatters (electronic book)

Sisters in law : how Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg went to the Supreme Court and changed the world by Linda R. Hirshman

Inspirational Quotes

Finally, to brighten your day, 11 inspiring quotes collected by Reader's Digest from the women of the Supreme Court.

11 Quotes From Female Supreme Court Justices That Will Give You a Major Confidence Boost