Sandra Day O'Connor's 'First' Principles: A Constructive Vision for an Angry Nation

18 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2020

Date Written: February 1, 2020

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Griffin, Lisa Kern, Sandra Day O'Connor's 'First' Principles: A Constructive Vision for an Angry Nation (February 1, 2020). Columbia Law Review, Vol. 120, 2020, Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2020-45, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3620161 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3620161

Lisa Kern Griffin (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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