Study Guide

My Sister's Keeper Rules and Order

By Jodi Picoult

Rules and Order

"I want to sue [my parents] for the rights to my own body." (1.1.95)

And boom, we're off on a legal drama that would make John Grisham jealous. This book wouldn't be possible if the U.S. weren't such a litigious society.

"Does there have to be a trial?" (3.2.12)

Oh, Anna, if you file a lawsuit, yes there has to be a trial—that's the way these things work. And the more public spectacle (or ripped-from-the-headlines material that can be used on Law and Order), the better.

"You cannot talk about this case with your daughter unless her attorney is present." (3.2.41)

This is such a bonkers legal order that we have to wonder if it would fly in real life. Sara, as opposing counsel, lives with her daughter. Does the judge actually think she won't talk about the case?

"I certainly don't think my client ought to be the one to move out. She hasn't violated the judge's orders. I'll get a temporary restraining order keeping Sara Fitzgerald from having any contact with her." (3.6.38)

The legal drama intensifies when Campbell adds a restraining order to the mix.

"If it comes to my attention at some future date that you have ignored this directive once again, I will report you to the bar myself and personally escort you from your home." (4.5.14)

Judge DeSalvo totally lays down the law (with a "salvo" of legal terms like "directive" and, um, "bar"). We're surprised he doesn't smack Sara in the face with his gavel.

"The kid doesn't have a record."

"That's because he just turned eighteen. He's got a juvy record a mile long." (5.1.132-5.1.132)

Campbell ends up getting Jesse off because of a legal loophole—all Jesse's crimes when he was seventeen and younger can basically be swept under the rug. Good thing kids become totally different people the second they turn eighteen.

I'm actually educated to think that morals and ethics do not necessarily go hand in hand. (5.1.160)

We wondered what happened in law school. This explains why the law sometimes let killers go free, while also putting people in jail for years over comparatively minor infractions like tax fraud.

"We actually have reviewed your daughter's case," the woman says. "Unfortunately, at this time, we don't think that procedure is in her best interests." (5.3.26)

Even more frustrating than the legal system is the medical insurance system. In this chapter, Sara fights big time just to get Kate's procedure to happen.

"Are you indicating that if my client willingly donates a kidney, then she will be absolved of all other medical procedures that may be necessary in the future to prolong Kate's life?"(6.5.20)

We've seen plea bargains on legal shows before, but rarely are people bargaining for a human organ. Once again, Sara uses the legal system to reduce her daughter to merely an organ. That can't be good for Anna's self-esteem.

"In America—even if the consequences are tragic—you are not responsible for someone else's safety. You aren't obligated to help anyone in distress. Not if you're the one who started the fire, not if you're a passerby to car wreck, not if you're a perfectly matched donor." (7.1.71)

This isn't what we learned from the final episode of Seinfeld… but if Campbell says it, we'll believe it.

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