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Linda Hirshman      

Supreme Court Lawyer, Renowned Expert on Social Change in America & Author

Linda Hirshman is an acclaimed Supreme Court lawyer, progressive political pundit, and author.

Her 2015 title, Sisters in Law tells the fascinating story of the intertwined lives of Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first and second women to serve as Supreme Court justices. Hirshman’s dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession—battles that would ultimately benefit every American woman. She also makes clear how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women’s lives. Sisters in Law combines legal detail with warm personal anecdotes that bring these very different women into focus as never before. Meticulously researched and compellingly told, it is an authoritative account of our changing law and culture, and a moving story of a remarkable friendship.

Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution (Harper) details the enthralling and groundbreaking story of the Gay Pride movement, and reveals how a dedicated and resourceful minority changed America forever. A fascinating and enlightening lecturer on the topic of gay rights, Hirshman is an ideal speaker for colleges and universities, corporations and law firms with LGBT affinity groups and LGBT organizations.

When the modern struggle for gay rights erupted in the summer of 1969, most religious traditions condemned homosexuality, psychiatric experts called people attracted to others of the same sex "crazy," and forty-nine states outlawed sex between people of the same gender. Less than four decades later, in June of 2011, New York State legalized gay marriage - the most populous state in the country to do so thus far. The armed services stopped enforcing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," ending a law that long discriminated against gay and lesbian members of the armed forces. Successful social movements are always extraordinary, but these advances were something of a miracle.

In her "Victory" talks, Hirshman recounts the long, tangled roads that led to these victories, viewing the Gay Rights movement within the tradition of American freedom as the third great modern social justice movement, alongside the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Movement. Drawing on rich published and archival material, and hundreds of in-depth interviews, she illustrates how the fight for gay rights has changed the American landscape for all citizens - blurring rigid gender lines, altering the shared culture, and broadening our definitions of family.

A retired labor lawyer, Hirshman is the author of Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, Hard Bargains: The Politics of Sex, and A Woman's Guide to Law School. She received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and her PhD in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While practicing law, she appeared in three Supreme Court cases including Garcia v. SAMTA, which defined the line between the federal government and the states. In recent years, she has appeared on 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, various NPR shows, and the Colbert Report. She has also written for publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and Salon.

She lives in Arizona and New York.

Speech Topics


How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World

Hirshman's dual biography includes revealing stories of how these trailblazers fought for their own recognition in a male-dominated profession—battles that would ultimately benefit every American woman. She also makes clear how these two justices have shaped the legal framework of modern feminism, including employment discrimination, abortion, affirmative action, sexual harassment, and many other issues crucial to women's lives.

With access to hundreds of previously unpublished letters, Hirshman sheds new light on O'Connor's role in the Bush v. Gore decision, and how together the two women, strengthened by their mutual support, transformed the Constitution and laws of the nation to make it a more equal place for millions of women.

Sisters in Law combines legal detail with warm personal anecdotes that bring these very different women into focus as never before. Meticulously researched and compellingly told, it is an authoritative account of our changing law and culture, and a moving story of a remarkable friendship.

Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution

Why Women Work

How Social Movements Succeed (And Fail)

News


Interview: Linda Hirshman, Author Of 'Sisters In Law' : NPR

Author Linda Hirshman's joint biography of the first and second women to serve on the nation's highest court is a gossipy, funny, sometimes infuriating and ...

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