Date & Time
Monday, June 1, 2020
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
Free and open to the public
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
“This fascinating book reconstructs a chapter of women’s history that has been hiding in plain sight: the numerous qualified women whose names were floated for the Supreme Court but who never got there. Just as they were overlooked, so have their individual stories been — until now.” — Linda Greenhouse, New York Times contributing columnist
Renee Knake discusses "Shortlisted." A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.
At the Co-op
About the book: The inspiring and previously untold history of the women considered―but not selected―for the US Supreme Court. In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female justice on the United States Supreme Court after centuries of male appointments, a watershed moment in the long struggle for gender equality. Yet few know about the remarkable women considered in the decades before her triumph.
"Shortlisted" tells the overlooked stories of nine extraordinary women—a cohort large enough to seat the entire Supreme Court—who appeared on presidential lists dating back to the 1930s. Florence Allen, the first female judge on the highest court in Ohio, was named repeatedly in those early years. Eight more followed, including Amalya Kearse, a federal appellate judge who was the first African American woman viewed as a potential Supreme Court nominee. Award-winning scholars Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson cleverly weave together long-forgotten materials from presidential libraries and private archives to reveal the professional and personal lives of these accomplished women.
In addition to filling a notable historical gap, the book exposes the harms of shortlisting―it reveals how adding qualified female candidates to a list but passing over them ultimately creates the appearance of diversity while preserving the status quo. This phenomenon often occurs with any pursuit of professional advancement, whether the judge in the courtroom, the CEO in the corner office, or the coach on the playing field. Women, and especially female minorities, while as qualified as others on the shortlist (if not more so), find themselves far less likely to be chosen. With the stories of these nine exemplary women as a framework, Shortlisted offers all women a valuable set of strategies for upending the injustices that still endure. It is a must-read for those seeking positions of power as well as for the powerful who select them in the legal profession and beyond.
About the author: Renee Knake is a law professor and an award-winning author whose work has been featured in BuzzFeed, CNN, National Public Radio, Slate, the Wall Street Journal, and other media. She holds the Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics at the University of