Arts and Culture | Local

Supreme Court ‘sisters’ among topics for Brandeis book soirees

Linda Hirshman

As a young attorney, Linda Hirshman, realized that fighting for the disenfranchised was her calling.

“I wanted to do something that was hard, so if you accomplished it, it would be an honor,” says Hirshman, now a political pundit and author. “And there was no honor in making powerful people more powerful — that is so easy.”

Hirshman earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, and spent 15 years as a trial lawyer specializing in labor law cases. She’s a former professor of law at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, and taught philosophy and women’s studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.

Her latest book, “Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World,” chronicles the rise of the first two women appointed to the nation’s highest court, and the alliance they formed there. It was published in September 2015.

This is the first time Hirshman’s work has made The New York Times bestsellers list, she says, recalling the excitement of hearing the news from her publisher. Since the political climate in the United States has changed so dramatically, as she continues her book tour, the discussion expands and deepens.

“Whenever I present the book now, we always have an interesting conversation,” she says.

Hirshman is one of the four esteemed authors who will be featured at the Tucson chapter of the Brandeis National Committee 21st annual Book & Author fundraising events on March 8 and 9. A dinner with the authors will be held at Hacienda del Sol, 5501 N. Hacienda Del Sol Road, on Wednesday, March 8 at 6 p.m., featuring music by “Cheaper Than Therapy,” a local women’s barbershop quartet. A luncheon and book signing event will be held on Thursday, March 9 from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Skyline Country Club, 5200 E St. Andrews Drive.

Steve Berry
Steve Berry
Anne Hillerman. (Jean Fogelberg)
Anne Hillerman. (Jean Fogelberg)
Sherri Duskey Rinker
Sherri Duskey Rinker

The event will also feature: Steve Berry, a former trial lawyer and founder of the International Thriller Writers, whose latest Cotton Malone novel, “The Lost Order,” will be published on April 4; Anne Hillerman, daughter of the late Tony Hillerman, who will also publish her latest novel, “Song of the Lion,” in April; and Sherri Duskey Rinker, the critically acclaimed children’s author, whose “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site,” spent 228 weeks on The New York Times bestsellers list. This year’s luncheon will be moderated by Vanessa Barchfield, a reporter and producer at Arizona Public Media.

The annual occasion will benefit the “Sustaining the Mind” program, a fund that supports neuroscience research for combating degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

During her law career, Hirshman litigated on three Supreme Court cases, one being Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority — a ruling that extended the Fair Labor Standards Act under the Constitution, guaranteeing minimum wage and overtime rights for transit workers employed by a private company.

Hirshman says she has a knack for predicting the future regarding the viability of political and social movements in America. Her book, “Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution,” which described how the LGBTQ community forged a successful political campaign that would ratify marriage equality, was written years before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of equal marriage rights.

She was one of the few liberal Democrats who were concerned about the rise of Donald Trump in the early days of the presidential campaign, she adds. As his new administration nears in on controlling every aspect of stateside governance, and continues to grow ever popular, she says it is disconcerting to watch.

“A combination of a movement and total control over all three branches of government is scary,” she says. “And because a movement comes from the culture, as well as the political system, you’re seeing an eruption — you’re seeing evidence of what’s going on in the culture, which is not lovely.”

Being invited to this year’s event is quite the honor, says Hirshman. Not only is Brandeis very dear to her — as is her overall love for science — but while writing “Victory” she learned how invaluable scientific research helped curb the AIDS epidemic.

“So it happens that this event is very special to me for that reason,” she says. “I’m very, very happy to lend my talents to helping Brandeis raise money for scientific research. And I just know that if a bunch of Brandeis people work on something, they’ll figure it out.”

The cost of each event is $75 for Brandeis members and $85 for non-members. For more information contact Sheila Rothenberg at 232-9559 or