Biskupic, Joan 1956–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Biskupic, Joan 1956–

PERSONAL: Born 1956, in Chicago, IL, married; children: one daughter. Education: Marquette University, B.A., 1978; University of Oklahoma, M.A., 1986; Georgetown University, J.D., 1993.

ADDRESSES: Home—Washington, DC. Office—USA Today, 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108-0605.E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Tulsa Tribune, Tulsa, OK, bureau chief and reporter, 1985–87; Washington correspondent for a Wisconsin newspaper, 1987–88; Congressional Quarterly, legal affairs reporter, 1989–92; Washington Post, Washington, DC, Supreme Court reporter, 1992–2000; USA Today, McLean, VA, 2000–.

WRITINGS:

The Supreme Court Yearbook: 1989–1990, Congressional Quarterly (Washington, DC), 1990.

The Supreme Court Yearbook: 1990–1991, Congressional Quarterly (Washington, DC), 1991.

(With Elder Witt) Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd edition, two volumes, Congressional Quarterly (Washington, DC), 1997.

(With Elder Witt) The Supreme Court and Individual Rights, 3rd edition, Congressional Quarterly (Washington, DC), 1997.

(With Elder Witt) The Supreme Court and the Powers of the American Government, Congressional Quarterly (Washington, DC), 1997.

(With Elder Witt) The Supreme Court at Work, 2nd edition, Congressional Quarterly (Washington, DC), 1997.

Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice (biography), Ecco (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: A reporter with years of experience covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Joan Biskupic is the author of the biography Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice. Published in 2005, the same year that O'Connor announced she would retire, the book has been called a timely work about the first woman to be appointed to the nation's highest court. In what Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush described as an "absorbing portrait," Biskupic conducted numerous interviews and researched court documents to describe how the conservative justice, who was selected by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was influenced by her past and how she, in turn, influenced the Supreme Court. Generally viewed as a moderately conservative justice who resisted expressing her personal views about issues ranging from abortion to the death penalty, O'Connor proved to be a consensus builder between the more right- and left-leaning justices on the court. However, in Biskupic's view, this also made for a justice who became both praiseworthy for her lack of overt idealism and flawed for her general failure to be a bold leader on the bench. On the other hand, the biographer notes that O'Connor became a more confident and influential justice after surviving breast cancer in 1988.

Reviewers of Sandra Day O'Connor found that the book has many strong points. For example, Kathleen M. Sullivan, writing in the Washington Post Book World, wrote that the author "gives a fascinating account of O'Connor's political astuteness." In addition, Phillip Y. Blue, writing for Library Journal, was posi-tive in his assessment, lauding Biskupic for revealing how O'Connor "moved the law—and society—in new directions" in "an insightful biography."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 1999, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, p. 183; October 1, 2005, Vanessa Bush, review of Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice, p. 4.

Library Journal, October 15, 2005, Philip Y. Blue, review of Sandra Day O'Connor, p. 63.

New York Times Book Review, February 6, 2006, review of Sandra Day O'Connor, p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, October 3, 2005, review of Sandra Day O'Connor, p. 66.

Washington Post Book World, December 25, 2005, Kathleen M. Sullivan, review of Sandra Day O'Connor, p. 3.