Our Favorite Books by and About the Women of SCOTUS

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

It’s Women’s History Month and today at Quirk Books we’re celebrating the past and present women of the Supreme Court of the United States. (AKA the ladies of SCOTUS.) Here are our favorite books about Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor. We love you, ladies!


The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice by Sandra Day O’Connor

In The Majesty of the Law, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor reflects on her time as a Supreme Court Justice and how law and the court have impacted her life. As the first female Supreme Court Justice, O’Connor certainly has a wealth of stories to share about her own experience. But this memoir digs deeper, tracing the origins of American law through its citizens as well as through some truly landmark cases.


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

In her biography about the first two female justices of the Supreme Court, Linda Hirshman explores the unexpected comradery between Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sisters in Law paints a picture of two justices who couldn’t be more different – O’Connor is Republican, Christian, and the daughter of a rancher while Ginsburg is a Democrat, Jewish, and a Brooklyn native. But the law transcends party affiliation, religion, and culture and through this dual biography Hirshman demonstrates how these two groundbreaking justices shaped the United States legal framework through rulings on abortion, affirmative action, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment, among other crucial women’s issues.


Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhik

In Notorious RBG, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhik build on the meme these two women created to celebrate their favorite Supreme Court Justice. The book is part biography and part fan service, perfectly capturing the essence of Justice Ginsburg. Featuring interviews with RBG herself and the people closest to her – including her personal trainer, natch – this book feels more like a gab session with the justice than a hard-hitting biography. It even features an illustration of Justice Ginsburg’s daily workout, which we’re going to try out as soon as we can master the pushup. Our favorite part, however, was a photocopy of a letter her husband Marty wrote her, complete with annotated corrections from the justice.


My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams

In her first book since becoming a Supreme Court Justice, My Own Words collects 70 years of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s writing. The collection includes a newspaper piece from 13-year-old Ruth’s editor days at the school newspaper, as well as speeches given over the course of her career and current Supreme Court opinions and dissents. The book covers a wide range of topics – from women’s rights to religion to opera to international affairs. My Own Words feels like a true collaboration, with writing selected by Ginsburg and biographical context provided by Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, law professors at Georgetown University who clearly have a wonderful relationship with the justice.  


I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley

In this beautifully illustrated children’s book, author Debbie Levy and illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley show that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been dissenting her entire life. The book shows Justice Ginsburg throughout her life, chronicling the way she challenged the status quo even as a young child. This is an incredible read for adults and children alike and the perfect start to your favorite young person’s feminist library. 


My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s memoir My Beloved World candidly documents her journey from the Bronx housing project where she grew up to her seat at the Supreme Court of the United States. No topic is too precious for Justice Sotomayor and she allows her memoir to cover everything from her relationship with her paternal grandmother and her studies at Princeton and Yale to her valued mentors and her relationship with her ex-husband. My Beloved World soars with Justice Sotomayor’s drive and optimism, looking back on her life and looking forward toward the rest of her career on the bench.


Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice by Joan Biskupic

In Breaking In, former journalist Joan Biskupic explores two merging and driving forces: the growing Hispanic population in the United States and the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. When President Barack Obama appointed her to the Supreme Court in 2009, Justice Sotomayor broke barriers as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice in US history. Biskupic’s biography digs deeper, giving readers a look into the Supreme Court nomination process and the steps that lead to the nomination of the woman who’s now known as “the people’s justice.”