She has a lot to say. But, the provocative title of her new book notwithstanding, she is not saying it here. Instead, she has delivered a disjointed collection of anodyne anecdotes and bar-association bromides about the history of the Supreme Court. “Out of Order” is a gift shop bauble, and its title might as well refer to how disorganized and meandering it is. . . .
O’Connor is fond of the stock phrase and profligate with the exclamation point. She will tell you the same story twice. And she will recount a joke but withhold its meaning. We hear that the court works “in an atmosphere insulated as far as possible from political pressures” and then, some 60 pages later, that it works “in an atmosphere insulated, as far as possible, from political pressures.” Same phrase — but now with commas. We are told three times that Justice John Rutledge resigned from the Supreme Court in order to become Chief Justice of South Carolina.