The inspiring and previously untold history of the women considered-but not selected-for the US Supreme Court
In 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice on the United States Supreme Court after centuries of male appointments, a watershed moment in the long struggle for gender equality. Yet few know about the remarkable women considered in the decades before her triumph.
Shortlisted tells the overlooked stories of nine extraordinary women-a cohort large enough to seat the entire Supreme Court-who appeared on presidential lists dating back to the 1930s. Florence Allen, the first female judge on the highest court in Ohio, was named repeatedly in those early years. Eight more followed, including Amalya Kearse, a federal appellate judge who was the first African American woman viewed as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Award-winning scholars Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson cleverly weave together long-forgotten materials from presidential libraries and private archives to reveal the professional and personal lives of these accomplished women.
In addition to filling a notable historical gap, the book exposes the tragedy of the shortlist. Listing and bypassing qualified female candidates creates a false appearance of diversity that preserves the status quo, a fate all too familiar for women, especially minorities. Shortlisted offers a roadmap to combat enduring bias and discrimination. It is a must-read for those seeking positions of power as well as for the powerful who select them in the legal profession and beyond.
Publisher: New York University Press
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
This is a major contribution to the story of women lawyers. The authors study women whose trajectories were never before systematically examined - women shortlisted for the Supreme Court. What they describe is all the more remarkable because it involves remarkable women - portraying women in gendered and unfavorable ways; emphasizing diversity by putting women on shortlists, but not selecting them; saving a seat for certain groups but not for women. It sounds so familiar in other contexts, but it is shocking in this one. The message is clear and troubling: If women who are the elite of the profession can be treated shabbily, we have much more to do. -- Hon. Nancy Gertner, U.S.D.Ct. Judge (Ret.)
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