Professor publishes book focused on women in the U.S. Supreme Court

June 20, 2012

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- Nichola D. Gutgold, associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley, recently published "The Rhetoric of Supreme Court Women: From Obstacles to Options," by Lexington Books – a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.

For almost 200 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has been an exclusively male-dominated institution. From 1981 to 2010, however, four women were appointed to the Supreme Court for the first time in U.S. history: Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. In her book, Gutgold analyzes the rhetoric of these four women, while shedding light on the rise of political women in American judiciary. The power of their rhetoric in a historically male-dominated political system is carefully shown through Gutgold’s analysis of confirmation hearings, primary scripts of their written opinions, invited public lectures, speechesand personal interviews with Justices O’Connor, Ginsburg and Sotomayor.

“Professor Gutgold provides more than the usual approach, grounded in persuasive style and symbol in public and political setting. She understands the deeply embedded character of discourse as both a longitudinal marker of change and as a set of ‘scars’ that affect the nature and effect of discourse propelled from past through present to future,” said Larry Catá Backer, a W. Richard and Mary Eshelman faculty scholar and professor of law and international affairs at Penn State.

Gutgold’s other books include "Almost Madam President: Why Hillary Clinton ‘Won’ in 2008" (Lexington Books, 2009), "Seen and Heard: The Women of Television News," (Lexington Books, 2008), and "Paving the Way for Madam President" (Lexington Books, 2006). She co-authored "Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart" with Molly Wertheimer (Praeger Press, 2004) and "Gender and the American Presidency: Nine Presidential Women and the Barriers They Faced" with Theodore Sheckels and Diana Carlin (Lexington Books, 2012).

She has received several campus awards, including the Teaching Excellence Award, Research Achievement Award, Advising Excellence Award and Student Appreciation Award. In 2009 she was awarded the Pennsylvania Communication Association Donald Ecroyd Research and Scholarship Award. Gutgold has led Penn State students through China, Paris and Barcelona field studies. She advises the student newspaper, State of the Valley, and serves as University Senator. Gutgold also is a member of the National Communication Association and former president of the Pennsylvania Communication Association.

  • Nichola D. Gutgold, associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

    IMAGE: Kate Morgan

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Last Updated January 09, 2015