Author and veteran journalist Joan Biskupic, currently a Public Policy Scholar at The Wilson Center, has covered the Supreme Court for twenty years. She has written several books on the judiciary, including American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2009, and Sandra Day O’Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice, published by HarperCollins/Ecco in 2005. In her current research at the Wilson Center, Biskupic is working on a new book tracing the life of the nation’s first Hispanic justice, Sonia Sotomayor, against the backdrop of nomination politics and the progress of Latinos in the law (for Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

Biskupic has covered the Supreme Court for USA Today since June 2000. Before that, she was the Supreme Court reporter for The Washington Post (1992-2000) and legal affairs writer for Congressional Quarterly (1989-1992).  Biskupic is the author of several reference books, including Congressional Quarterly's two-volume encyclopedia on the Supreme Court (1997, with co-author Elder Witt).

A native of Chicago, Biskupic holds a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and a law degree from Georgetown University. She is a regular panelist on PBS’s “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill” and NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show.”


Major Publications


Sonia Sotomayor and Nomination Politics (working title). An examination of the political and cultural crosscurrents that led to appointment of the nation’s first Hispanic justice. Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Sarah Crichton Books, tentative publication 2013.

American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Sarah Crichton Books, 2009; paperback 2010.

Sandra Day O’Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became its Most Influential Justice. HarperCollins/Ecco, 2005; paperback, 2006.

Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. Congressional Quarterly Press, 1997; a  two-volume edition, with co-author Elder Witt; related books created by the authors: The Supreme Court and Individual Rights; The Supreme Court and the Powers of the American Government; The Supreme Court at Work, 1997.

The Supreme Court Yearbook. Congressional Quarterly Press; series originator and author for the first three volumes, covering the 1989-1990, 1990-1991, and 1991-1992 Supreme Court terms; American Library Association selected the inaugural edition of the Yearbook as an Outstanding Reference Source in 1991.


USA Today, Supreme Court Correspondent, 2000-present, with four leaves-of-absence for book projects. Coverage includes immediate Web reports of breaking legal news, longer analyses of Court rulings for print edition, and regular video and multimedia presentations for the Internet.

The Washington Post, Supreme Court Correspondent, 1992-2000. Wrote more than one thousand articles; co-authored two Pulitzer Prize-nominated series: “Sentencing by the Numbers” and “The Secrets of the Marshall Papers”; developed one of the first “live” online conversations, “Holding Court,” which appeared weekly.

Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, Legal Affairs Reporter, 1989-1992. Earned the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress for coverage of the 1991 Clarence Thomas nomination and Senate hearings.

PBS’s The Supreme Court, four-part series produced by Thirteen/WNET New York. Premiered in January, 2007 and still shown regularly; Featured commentator in series’ episodes focused on the Earl Warren through William Rehnquist eras.


Previous Terms

Public Policy Scholar, 2008: "Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Debate Over Constitutional Originalism"; Public Policy Scholar, 2003-2004; "Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's Influence in Key Areas of the Law"