The International Bar Association has a series of in depth interviews with a range of judicial figures from across the globe posted on its website – which make a good read if you have a few spare minutes. The most recent interview is with Sandra Day O’Conner, the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1981. It appears that at times she was forced to remind others of her presence on the bench; in an acerbic letter to the New York Times after an article in which they had written of the ‘nine old men’ on the Supreme Court bench she wrote:

To the Editor:

I noticed the following paragraph in the ”Topics” section of the Sept. 29 editorial page:

Is no Washington name exempt from shorthand? One, maybe. The Chief Magistrate responsible for executing the laws is sometimes called the POTUS.

The nine men who interpret them are often the SCOTUS. The people who enact them are still, for better or worse, Congress.

According to the information available to me, and which I had assumed was generally available, for over two years now SCOTUS has not consisted of nine men. If you have any contradictory information, I would be grateful if you would forward it as I am sure the POTUS, the SCOTUS and the undersigned (the FWOTSC) would be most interested in seeing it. SANDRA D. O’CONNOR, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, Oct. 5, 1983

You can read the interview on the IBA website, or a longer version on the Guardian Legal Network. The IBA website also has links to interviews with Baroness Scotland and the Chief Justice of Canada.