Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, is out with a new book “Out of Order,” and New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak destroyed it in a review published Friday.
It’s the literary equivalent of last year’s shellacking of Guy Fieri’s new restaurant in Times Square.
After saying some positive things about the author — O’Connor is indeed a living legend — Liptak effectively shreds the former Supreme Court Associate Justice’s latest work:
The provocative title of her new book notwithstanding, she is not saying it here. Instead, she has delivered a disjointed collection of anodyne anecdotes and bar-association bromides about the history of the Supreme Court. “Out of Order” is a gift shop bauble, and its title might as well refer to how disorganized and meandering it is.
Described as “an institutional hagiography” despite the book’s billing as an “insider perspective,” the work falls far short of recent works by Justices Scalia, Breyer, Sotomayor and Stevens.
From the sound of it, the book seems pretty phoned-in:
The book is short and padded. The main part, only 165 pages long, is interrupted by stock photographs and curious, unexplained editorial cartoons. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are included in an appendix. They are surely worth rereading from time to time, but their main purpose here seems to be to add some bulk to a very skimpy effort.
The skimpy book, Liptak says, is full of stock phrases and exclamation points, repeated anecdotes and phrases and multiple un-elaborated jokes.
Most of all, Liptak just sounds disappointed — the book could have been outstanding, and O’Connor could have penned something meaningful in light of the continued dismantling of her Supreme Court legacy, but instead the work is “empty.”
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