The women of the Supreme Court—Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and now likely Sonia Sotomayor—may come from wildly different backgrounds, but they all shared a common childhood pastime: curling up with a Nancy Drew novel. What was it about that wholesome teenage detective? wonders Mary Jo Murphy in the New York Times. The books are not exactly masterpieces of prose, but they do show an image of justice.
For O'Connor and Ginsburg's generation, Nancy Drew represents a spunky heroine who "can follow—is allowed to follow—a train of thought," according to one critic. But what about the younger Sotomayor? The books tended to portray non-whites as second-class citizens, but for minority students exposed to the complicated realities of the justice system, Nancy Drew's simple, unambiguous world has its own appeal. When the job is done, Nancy "can powder her nose and drive off.”