Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



During her 25-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor cast the decisive votes to resolve the most emotional debates, yet she maintained collegiality among the Justices and retained the public’s high regard. A recent biography by historian and journalist Evan Thomas chronicles her extraordinary personal qualities, remarkable professional journey, and constructive brand of patriotism. This book review essay describes a legacy in three parts: a lived example of how to thrive in the face of challenges, a jurisprudence driven by the courage to make compromises, and a theory about the long game of American democracy. First reintroduces O’Connor’s voice at a critical moment in our national conversation. Although it sounds wistful notes about what seems a bygone era, it also contains hopeful lessons about repairing American civic life.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Women judges, Judicial process, Sandra Day O'Connor