Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Just the Facts Book Discussion December 27th, 2018

Due to an unexpected snowstorm in November, the book discussion group did not take place.  Since both books involve the Supreme Court, it was decided to combine the two books into one discussion, which took place last night.  Eleven people attended.  Their presence, as always, was much appreciated.

Our books last night were Showdown:  Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court nomination that changed America by Wil Haygood and Sisters in Law:  how Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg went to the Supreme Court and changed the world by Linda Hirshman.  The books tell the story of
how the first African-American man and the first two women were nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court and, incidentally, the first Jewish-American, Louis Brandeis, arrived there.  Perhaps Marshall’s route was the most difficult and dangerous.  He spent his pre-court life traveling the south defending civil rights case in southern courts, sleeping in different place each night to avoid being murdered.  He also argued cases before the Supreme Court, culminating in his successful case in 1954, Brown v Board of Education, which established that the doctrine of separate but equal was
unconstitutional.  O’Connor had an easier route, growing up in Arizona, mentored by Barry Goldwater, working her way up through the state legislature and various local and state courts.  Ginsburg was more radical, seeking to remove  the legal differences, or the differences the law displayed, to men and women.  All three had difficult paths, but all three were were nominated and then confirmed to the Supreme Court.  All three had, or are having successful judicial careers.  Our conversation was thoughtful and interesting, comparing Jackie Robinson to Marshall, term limits, the role of southern senators in the confirmation fight, and much more.

Our next meeting will be on January 24th, 2019.  The book to be discussed, Gulp: adventures on the alimentary canal by Mary Roach, is available at the Circulation Desk.  All are welcome.  Happy New Year, everybody.

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