Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court

Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court

by Sandra Day O'Connor
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Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court by Sandra Day O'Connor


“I called this book Out of Order because it reflects my goal, which is to share a different side of the Supreme Court. Most people know the Court only as it exists between bangs of the gavel, when the Court comes to order to hear arguments or give opinions. But the stories of the Court and the Justices that come from the ‘out of order’ moments add to the richness of the Court as both a branch of our government and a human institution.”—Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
From Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, comes this fascinating book about the history and evolution of the highest court in the land.
Out of Order sheds light on the centuries of change and upheaval that transformed the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the remarkable institution that thrives and endures today. From the early days of circuit-riding, when justices who also served as trial judges traveled thousands of miles per year on horseback to hear cases, to the changes in civil rights ushered in by Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall; from foundational decisions such as Marbury v. Madison to modern-day cases such as Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Justice O’Connor weaves together stories and lessons from the history of the Court, charting turning points and pivotal moments that have helped define our nation’s progress.
With unparalleled insight and her unique perspective as a history-making figure, Justice O’Connor takes us on a personal exploration, painting vivid pictures of Justices in history, including Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., one of the greatest jurists of all time; Thurgood Marshall, whose understated and succinct style would come to transform oral argument; William O. Douglas, called “The Lone Ranger” because of his impassioned and frequent dissents; and John Roberts, whom Justice O’Connor considers to be the finest practitioner of oral argument she has ever witnessed in Court. We get a rare glimpse into the Supreme Court’s inner workings: how cases are chosen for hearing; the personal relationships that exist among the Justices; and the customs and traditions, both public and private, that bind one generation of jurists to the next—from the seating arrangements at Court lunches to the fiercely competitive basketball games played in the Court Building’s top-floor gymnasium, the so-called “highest court in the land.”
Wise, candid, and assured, Out of Order is a rich offering of inspiring stories of one of our country’s most important institutions, from one of our country’s most respected pioneers.

Praise for Out of Order
“[A] succinct, snappy account of how today’s court—so powerful, so controversial and so frequently dissected by the media—evolved from such startlingly humble and uncertain beginnings.”The New York Times
“A brief and accessible history of the nation’s highest court, narrated by a true historical figure and a jurisprudential giant.”—The Boston Globe
“A vibrantly personal book [that] displays O’Connor’s uncommon common sense, her dry wit and her reverence for the nation’s institutions.”Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Full of riveting anecdotes . . . a compact history . . . albeit a more lighthearted, personality-filled one than you might find in a high school classroom.”—Associated Press

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812984323
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/25/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 639,707
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.59(d)

About the Author

Sandra Day O’Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, and raised on the Lazy B Ranch. She attended Stanford University, where she took Wallace Stegner’s writing course. She began her public service in Phoenix, and was majority leader of the Arizona Senate before becoming a judge. She is the author of Lazy B, a memoir about growing up in the Southwest, and The Majesty of the Law, a reflection on American law and life. President Reagan nominated her as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and she served from 1981 to 2006. She serves as Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, and is on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

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Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Lebo More than 1 year ago
I found this book easy to read and the author does a great job of illuminating details of a court we seldom see the interior workings. Counter to the above 1 star review, I wasn't able to descern a political bent to any of the chapters or stories - simply well-researched and excellent prose telling insightful chapters in our greatest courts history. Well worth the time of any casual court buff.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tells some very interesting stories about the Supreme Court and the men - and now women - who have sat on it, including the author. However, it is repetitive and could have benefitted from better editing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Great for History Fans There’s no argument that the Supreme Court is a vital American institution. It serves as the third branch of government and keeps the others in check. But for the most part, it is pretty boring. Most people don’t pay much attention to the goings-on of the Court unless they are hearing arguments about a major social policy, such as gay marriage or abortion. I admit, I’m one of these people. Even though I love the law and politics and public policy, I don’t follow the Supreme Court as diligently as I should. But that may change now that I’ve read Sandra Day O’Connor’s book about her experiences on the bench. The first female Supreme Court Justice, O’Connor served for 25 years. But unlike most ‘memoirs’ this one is less about O’Connor than about the history of the Supreme Court. When I first started reading, I was expecting her life story – her upbringing, the obstacles she overcame, and her thoughts about her life – so I was a caught off guard when it read more like a history book. But once I readjusted my frame of mind, I loved it. ¿¿From the early days to the current system we have in place, O’Connor gives the reader a broad overview of how the Supreme Court arrived at its current destination. She talks about some of the most important justices (beloved like Holmes and hated like McReynolds, whose funeral was not attended by any Justices because he was so horribly racist). She also discusses, at length, the early practice of circuit-riding, when Supreme Court Justices traveled the country to preside over the lower courts (something that maybe some of the current Justices should do in an effort to see all sides of society…) Filled with fun facts and personal anecdotes, Out of Order is a pleasant and informative read. I recommend it for anyone who has a slight interest in the courts or our government because, despite its history lessons, it’s written informally and is much more enjoyable. I will definitely be whipping out some of these fun facts over the next few years.
WL2R More than 1 year ago
This is a well written summary of the purpose, history, & changes to the supreme court since it's inception to it's current operation. Bonus inclusion of both The Declaration of Independence & The Constitution of the United States makes for a well rounded read of our country's history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book as a gift and the recipient told me that he found it to be dry reading, not entertaining.
mrgoodbook More than 1 year ago
very interesting, well written and very authoritative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandra Day O'Connor has written one of the best books about the Supreme Court I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OldWahoo More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable but not very scholarly review of Supreme Court role in American history. Some interesting tidbits about what goes on behind the scenes at the court. A good book for young people interested in the court and the first woman justice.
BibliomaniacNumis More than 1 year ago
This book is large on history, traditions and practices on the US Supreme Court. It is well written and fun. However, it does not reveal any truly juicy insider gossip, nor is it is a substantive treatise on the court or any of its decisions. It wasn't meant to be. It is at times a trifle repetitive, but still an entertaining read nonetheless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally have always like Judge O'Connor, so my praise for her book may be colored, but I thought it was just great, and would recommend to anyone who wants to know some of the background to the Supreme Court. I learned a great deal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
patsy32 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read.The author is a highly respected jurist and a talented writer.She shows A great incite to the court and it's inter workings.I'm looking forward to her next book.
PSU4Ever More than 1 year ago
This was a nice read about the Supreme Court without going into lots of dry detail. Justice O'Connor reveals lots of interesting insights into the early days of the Court, when it was essentially a traveling circuit court, to today's more formal setting. It was enjoyable, and a quick read. One small error, on the Justice's part, however: When discussing 20th century court appointees, she mentioned that "Roosevelt followed Coolidge." As bad as he was, as President, we did have Herbert Hoover inbetween Calvin and FDR. Good book to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just wondering who if anyone proofread or edited this book.  She has Franklin D. Roosevelt succeeding Calvin Coolidge and the last time I checked he succeeded Herbert Hoover.  Not good..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O'connor will forever be known as one of the justices who perverted elections and overthrew democracy in the repulsive Bush v Gore decision in 2000. That decision was so bad the stupid justices who voted for it said it could not be used as precedent. Yet she is completely unapologetic for that terrible decision that almost destroyed this country. A shallow, awful book from a shallow, awful woman.