Lady Justice, by Dahlia Lithwick
Penguin Random House9780525561385
After the sudden shock of Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, many Americans felt lost and uncertain. It was clear he and his administration were going to pursue a series of retrograde, devastating policies. What could be done?
Immediately, women lawyers all around the country, independently of each other, sprang into action, and they had a common goal: they weren’t going to stand by in the face of injustice, while Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican party did everything in their power to remake the judiciary in their own conservative image. Over the next four years, the women worked tirelessly to hold the line against the most chaotic and malign presidency in living memory. There was Sally Yates, the acting attorney general of the United States, who refused to sign off on the Muslim travel ban. And Becca Heller, the founder of a refugee assistance program who brought the fight over the travel ban to the airports. And Roberta Kaplan, the famed commercial litigator, who sued the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. And, of course, Stacey Abrams, whose efforts to protect the voting rights of millions of Georgians may well have been what won the Senate for the Democrats in 2020.
These are just a handful of the stories Lithwick dramatizes in thrilling detail to tell a brand-new and deeply inspiring account of the Trump years. With unparalleled access to her subjects, she has written a luminous book, not about the villains of the Trump years, but about the heroes. And as the country confronts the news that the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-appointed justices, will soon overturn Roe v. Wade, Lithwick shines a light on not only the major consequences of such a decision, but issues a clarion call to all who might, like the women in this book, feel the urgency to join the fight. A celebration of the tireless efforts, legal ingenuity, and indefatigable spirit of the women whose work all too often went unrecognized at the time, Lady Justice is destined to be treasured and passed from hand to hand for generations to come, not just among lawyers and law students, but among all optimistic and hopeful Americans.