The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women

The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women : From Obstacles to Options

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From 1981 to 2010, the advancements of women in the United States can be seen in the words of the four pioneering women on the Supreme Court. The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women: From Obstacles to Options, by Nichola D. Gutgold, explores how Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg used effective rhetoric and worked to overcome gender obstacles, while cultural changes in America provided Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan with a wider range of rhetorical options.Gutgold's exploration of these four Supreme Court women provides valuable insight into the use of political communication and the changing gender zeitgeist in American politics.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 158 pages
  • 149.86 x 226.06 x 15.24mm | 204.12g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739172522
  • 9780739172520
  • 2,280,892

Table of contents

Foreword, by Larry Cata Backer
Chapter One. Up From Obscurity:Women and the United States Supreme Court
Chapter Two. Sandra Day O'Connor: Pioneering and Pragmatic in Words and Deeds
Chapter Three. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Legal Architect of the Women's Movement
Chapter Four. Sonia Sotomayor: Intense Intellectualism and Cultural Pride
Chapter Five. Elena Kagan: Fierce Intellect and Interpersonal Finesse
Chapter Six. Women and the Supreme Court: Moving Beyond Gender
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Review quote

Gutgold (communication arts and sciences, Penn State Lehigh Valley) shows how the rhetoric of the four women who have served on the US Supreme Court parallels the history and treatment of women in the US generally and in law schools and the legal profession more specifically. Just as women politicians and women in general no longer have to address the novelty of their gender, the women of the Supreme Court have gradually come to that same place. The pioneers, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both experienced serious discrimination, which their rhetoric mirrors by frequently weaving stories of discrimination and progress into their speeches and opinions. The most recent two women justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, came of age at a more enlightened, though certainly not perfect, time when women were common in law schools as students, professors, and deans, and were treated more equally in the profession. Their rhetoric mirrors that experience in the same way that O'Connor's and Ginsburg's mirror theirs. Brief biographical sketches of each of the justices work to solidify the book's interest and usefulness. Summing Up: Highly recommended. * CHOICE * Dr. Gutgold tells the engaging stories of the four women who have served on and reshaped the institution once dubbed 'nine old men.' Personal interviews with three of the Justices complement her impeccable scholarship to create a must read for legal and rhetorical scholars of the Supreme Court. -- Steven R. Brydon, California State University, Chico The stories told in this book have been waiting a long time to be told; four women, prominent in their field, influencing the legal justice system in ways that are provocative and far-reaching. Professor Gutgold eloquently tells their stories, grounding her work in rhetoric, feminism and historical/social perspectives. Anyone interested in the workings of the Supreme Court, and the women who have served there, will find great riches and many lessons in these pages. -- Janette Kenner Muir, George Mason University This book is an important addition to feminist scholarship in that it gives voice to four women who served on the Supreme Court, especially Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg, who blazed the trail for future female justices. We are reminded that the Supreme Court's women have distinct ways of viewing and rhetorically arguing in the legal system. This highly readable and significant book reminds us of the difficulties women, even Supreme Court justices, face as they seek equality within the U.S. legal system. I commend the author for illuminating the four women's judicial lives and, accordingly, our appreciation of the challenges today's woman faces. * Women's Studies In Communication *
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About Nichola D. Gutgold

Nichola D. Gutgold is associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley. She is the author of Almost Madam President:Why Hillary Clinton `Won' in 2008, Seen and Heard: The Women of Television News, and co-author of Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced.
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