Shortlisted

Shortlisted

Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court

by Hannah Brenner Johnson and Renee Knake Jefferson

Published by: NYU Press

304 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 15 black and white images

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9781479895915
  • Published: May 2020

$30.00

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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.

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