My Own Words Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The first book from Ruth Bader Ginsburg since becoming a Supreme Court Justice in 1993 - a witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women's rights, and popular culture.
My Own Words is a selection of writings and speeches by Justice Ginsburg on wide-ranging topics, including gender equality, the workways of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, and the value of looking beyond US shores when interpreting the US Constitution. Throughout her life Justice Ginsburg has been (and continues to be) a prolific writer and public speaker. This book contains a sampling selected by Justice Ginsburg and her authorized biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams. Justice Ginsburg has written an introduction to the book, and Hartnett and Williams introduce each chapter, giving biographical context and quotes gleaned from hundreds of interviews they have conducted. This is a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America's most influential women.
This audiobook features archival original recordings of Justice Ginsburg’s speeches and bench announcements.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 16 minutes|
|Author||Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mary Hartnett, Wendy W. Williams|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 04, 2016|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#1,819 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#2 in Biographies of Legal Professionals
#3 in United States Judicial Branch
#11 in Lawyer & Judge Biographies
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The book authored by Ginsburg is largely made up of excerpts from her writings - interesting but denser. The De Hart book provides much valuable context about her life, the evolution of her employment, and the associated evolution of her legal and judicial decisions. This context makes it easier to understand how and why she has been so important to American law.
The book has many merits. It affords an insight into how the Supreme Court operates and decides cases; provides us with highly personal and quite moving profiles of Chief Justice Rehnquist and her great friend--and adversary--Justice Scalia; reminds us of her pioneering role as the champion of women's rights as author, professor, and deadly litigator; and not least, helps us understand the private Ginsburg through several appearances by her late husband, tax lawyer Marty Ginsburg. Ginsburg speaks for herself in 36 or so pieces, skillfully tied together and placed in context by the two editors.
The book is divided into five sections. For example, "Early Years" surprised me with a Ginsburg essay written while an undergrad at Cornell on the evils of wiretapping, reflecting the influence of her mentor, the constitutional scholar Robert E. Cushman. In Part Two, "Tributes to Waypavers and Pathmarkers," Ginsburg reveals a remarkable talent for writing short profiles of prominent legal and judicial figures, including Belva Lockwood, Louis Brandeis, Judah P. Benjamin (a fascinating figure; look him up), Breyer, Cardozo, and especially Sandra Day O'Connor. Nobody can pack more info into a short piece than Ginsburg.
The central focus of her professional career as advocate and judge, gender equality, is the focus of Part Three. Symposium introductions; defense of the ERA; her bench announcement in the VMI case; and several summer presentations to summer law students abroad make up this section. One should never forget the impact her unceasing determination had in moving the whole idea of gender equality into the spotlight. Ironically, as is well known, she remains unhappy with the Roe opinion, preferring not to rest it upon privacy but upon straight equality grounds. Part IV has some interesting material on her role as a judge and appointment to the Court.
The final section provides an insight into her views of judging and justice. She explains the Court's workways and why she is so dedicated to judicial independence. She defends effectively the role foreign legal concepts can play for the Justices--a hot item with Scalia, while being promoted by Breyer. She articulates the idea of "measured motions," which basically means don't go too far in an opinion in pushing a point. Most interesting, she explains her view of dissents and dissent announcements, an unusual practice in which she has recently engaged. Finally, she shares her most recent second circuit report on Supreme Court highlights for the 2015-16 term; she gives such reports each year and it is quite interesting to read her candid comments.
One of the major reactions I came away with is how well she can write in no matter what format--a point quite obvious from her incisive opinions. The book runs some 370 pages, including chronology, helpful photos, notes and index. My only problem with the book is that the editors have chosen to relegate most notes (which I read religiously) to a webpage (see "A Note on Sources"). No matter how hard I tried, i could not locate these notes, and I am inclined to think such a separation of notes from text is not a good idea for it diminishes the ability to ingest the notes as you read. But the book itself is magnificent, whether you are a Ginsburg fan or not. At 83, this veteran of cancer flirtations, wars with Scalia, and many hard battles, has said she will remain on the Court as long as she meets her own stringent standards. For that, we can all be thankful.
By David Allen ✅ on October 12, 2016