for example who don't come on their own. so many do but that's not who we see and that's not who we research. that's not to say you don't come in for treatment if you are having trouble. you come in right away and don't wait for it to play out because you could get aids or all kinds of things could happen. a natural history is for people to recover on their own. on that optimistic note, i will stop. thank you. [applause] ♪ ♪
>> host: we are pleased to be joined by set outside of history and biography realm by former justice of the supreme court sandra day o'connor. this is her fifth book, stories from the history of the supreme court, "out of order." justice o'connor, five books. when you discover you enjoyed writing? >> guest: there were just lots of things to write about until about. >> host: what are you doing at the book festival today because i don't think you are talking about your book. >> guest: no, not really. i know jim billington and his head of the library of congress and my brother has a new book out and so jim billington told me had to bring my brother to the conference so i said i would and that's why we are here. >> host: you were in conversation with allen dey who is your brother. the horse lovers.
what's his book about? >> guest: well, for a long time he had the wild horses, most of them in the country and he had two ranches up in north dakota where he could take these forces and keep them for a whi while. the federal government had the responsibility for them so they paid something for the care of the horses. he did that for quite a while and it was most interesting. >> host: well i want to talk while i've got you about "out of order" and one of the first stories you tell is former chief justice -- and thomas jefferson were related and did not like each other. >> guest: that's right. isn't that amazing? >> host: what was their relationship? >> guest: i've forgotten specifically but cousins or something. it was amazing that they didn't like each other and it was so
difficult to manage that they did. >> host: the marbury versus madison case, that was during president jefferson's tenure and exactly what did that case establish? >> guest: well i don't know that today we'd say much of anything but. >> host: but it established the court as an equal branch. >> guest: it was treated as an equal branch with the other two and give him a lot of credibility which it needed. i mean the court was still young and trying to be accepted in the country as an equal voice for the other two branches, with the other two branches. >> host: and one of the things you write in "out of order" is the marbury and madison's portraits hang in there just as his private dining room. >> guest: they do. isn't that something? >> host: justice o'connor some of the traditions of the court
you also talk about in your book such as the entrance three by three. why do justices enter that why? >> guest: entry three by three? >> host: into the courtroom itself. injure three by three. >> guest: we actually don't. the fact of the matter is the justices meet behind the curtains as they are getting ready to enter and i guess equal vision to the justices means they end up three, six, nine and there they are and they march in. >> host: the handshakes before you go into the courtroom. what happens? >> guest: well you know that's very important to feel. let me shake your hand, to feel the warmth of someone's hand. you have just a momentary bond but it's one that matters. you are not going to be hostile
when you have just had somebody's hand in yours. it matters and what a wonderful way to try to secure goodwill among the justices who have some very tough decisions to make sometimes. >> host: now you writing here that you quit shaking the hand of one justice and would only grab his thumb. >> guest: while that was because he grabbed my hand, grab it, and i thought i was going to lose my hand. can you feel that? it was byron white and he was so strong that i know he did not realize how he was hurting my hand by that squeeze. so i had to do something and grab his bum instead to save my hand from his powerful squeeze by that justice. >> host: you don't talk much about yourself in here in this book. you are the first female justice on the cori. what you remember about
september 25, 1981? >> guest: well, nothing special. they are all special days but anyway. >> host: that was your first day. >> guest: that was my first day on the court and i had of course the hope that my service on the court would be worthwhi worthwhile, that i could make a solid and significant contribution. i didn't know that day whether i could or not. you don't know how you are going to do it. you don't know how you are going to get along with your colleagues. you don't really know when you start what cases are going to come before the court. you don't know how you are going to be challenged. but my hope was that i could do well enough that no one would be unhappy that they had a woman on the court. they wouldn't think it was a defect. that was very important to me and i could make a valuable
lasting contribution to the court. i hope they could. >> host: i'm going to test your memory here little bit. >> guest: it's poor. >> host: yes maam. melville ford who served as chief justice from 1888 to 1910. it's not a name that comes readily to mind. he was there for quite a while. >> guest: yes but he's not particularly remembered for significant cases. i think he did all right but he wasn't there at a time when he had to sign onto some incredibly important conceptual case and so he isn't particularly remembered. >> host: we all know roger danny. >> guest: tani. >> host: tawny. why do we remember him? >> guest: when you read about tani you remember out of order and all the things he worked on.
>> host: his relationship with president lincoln wasn't the best either. >> guest: not the best. >> host: is it important that the chief justice and the president get along? >> guest: i think it helps in some ways. after all it's the president who will fill a vacancy on the court if there is one and i think you certainly would want to be in good relationship with the man who's going to fill that vacancy because you might be asked for an opinion. what do you think about so-and-so? i'm considering so-and-so. it's very important i think. >> host: what about with congress? >> guest: well, congress is so big and diverse it probably doesn't matter. you hope the justices are not going to do anything in particular that will cause unhappiness among congress and members of congress but that's not likely.
it's a diverse body so that's okay. >> host: one of the things that often strikes people about justices is the friendships on the court because there are only nine of you. >> guest: yes. well, you don't expect any particular relationships or friendships that you want to keep things working well at the court. so that means it's better if you don't develop some animosity with one particular justice that makes it harder to get a decision. he don't want that to happen. i think every justice wants things to be smooth enough that you can reach agreement on the issues that come to the court. >> host: justice sandra day o'connor, "out of order." this is her fifth book and if you want to go back in history a little bit, she wrote a book