What Might Have Been: The Forgotten History Of Women On The Supreme Court Shortlist

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tags: Supreme Court, womens history

From Texas Standard:

In 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her appointment by President Ronald Reagan was a watershed moment for gender equality in the court system. But O'Connor wasn't the first woman to be considered for a seat on the high court.

In the new book, "Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court", coauthors Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson tell the story of nine women who were considered for positions on the country's highest court in the decades before O'Connor's appointment.

Knake Jefferson, a professor at the University of Houston School of Law, told Texas Standard host David Brown on Monday that the book was initially inspired by the public's and media's responses to the nominations of Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. She and Brenner Johnson studied numerous media stories about Supreme Court nominees over the years, and evaluated how prevailing ideas about gender influenced the tone and content of those stories.

"We also uncovered a really interesting history that included one article written in The New York Times in 1971 about President Nixon's shortlist," Knake Jefferson said. "There were two women on a list of six."

Despite that, she said Nixon seemed to hold a low opinion of women's potential as judges.

Read entire article at KUT

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