Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Examines The Supreme Court's History and Inside Stories in Out of Order

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For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2013
Contact: Lorenzo Butler
Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Examines The Supreme Court's History and Inside Stories in Out of Order

The first woman member of the Supreme Court of the United States, Sandra Day O'Connor has learned firsthand the inner workings, history, evolution, and influence of the nation's highest court.

The retired justice shares those insights as related in her new book Out of Order on Monday, June 3, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Sandra Day O'Connor's appearance is made possible by grants from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund to the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute. The event is co-presented with the Federal Court Historical Society.

"Most people know the Court only as it exists between bangs of the gavel, when the Court comes to order to hear arguments or give opinions," O'Connor says. "But the stories of the Court and the justices that come from the 'out of order' moments add to the richness of the Court as both a branch of our government and a human institution."

Out of Order sheds light on the centuries of change and upheaval that transformed the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the remarkable institution we know today. From the early days of circuit-riding -- when justices traveled thousands of miles each year on horseback to hear cases -- to the changes in civil rights ushered in by Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall, O'Connor weaves together stories and lessons from the Court's past.

She paints vivid portraits of justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Thurgood Marshall, William O. Douglas, and current Chief Justice John Roberts, whom O'Connor considers the finest practitioner of oral argument she has witnessed in Court.

And she offers glimpses into the Supreme Court's inner workings: how cases are chosen for hearing and the personal relationships that exist among the justices, including fiercely competitive basketball games played in the Supreme Court Building's top-floor gymnasium.

Born to a ranch family near El Paso, Texas, Sandra Day O'Connor received her B.A. and law degree from Stanford University. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, she took her seat as the first female justice in 1981. O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court in on January 31, 2006.

Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage at 10th & Baltimore.
O'Connor's appearance at the Kansas City Public Library inaugurates a new series being co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library, the Truman Library Institute, and the Federal Court Historical Society. The series -- Legal Landmarks: Supreme Court Decisions that Changed America -- includes the following programs, all of which take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Dred Scott and the Politics of Slavery
Presented by Earl M. Maltz

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Plessy v. Ferguson: Race and Inequality in Jim Crow America
Presented by Williamjames Hull Hoffer

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Mapp v. Ohio: Guarding Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
Presented by Carolyn N. Long

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History
Presented by Peter Charles Hoffer

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Gibbons v. Ogden: John Marshall, Steamboats, and the Commerce Clause
Presented by Herbert Alan Johnson

Additional funding for the Legal Landmarks series is provided by Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP. The series is co-sponsored by the University Press of Kansas and The University of Kansas School of Law .

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