Friday, July 01, 2005

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Retires

My fellow Arizonan, Sandra Day O'Connor, has resigned from SCOTUS. This is an unhappy development for our country because the two possible replacements for her are both hardcore conservatives. O'Connor has been the moderate, traditional voice of reason, and a swing vote on many decisions for the past 24 years.

That the Bush administration will try to replace her with a conservative is scary and stupid, all at once, because it will upset the balance of power in the Supreme Court and allow further right-wing rulings and will head us even more firmly into the breakdown of the separation of church and state.

[link] She arrived on an ideologically divided high court during a period of unprecedented challenge to established law on issues such as abortion, affirmative action, church-state relations and criminal justice.

She put her stamp on each of these fields, not by adopting an agenda, but by avoiding one. With colleagues often locked into predictable conservative or liberal position, this made her a consistent "swing" vote, a strategic role she deployed to moderate the extremes, in case after controversial case.

In effect, she stood politely but firmly in the way of the conservative strategy for the court that was so dear to the followers of the President who appointed her in 1981, Ronald Reagan.

We're going to miss your level-headed rulings, Justice O'Connor.

1 comment:

Alon Levy said...

That is bad, but not as bad as you think. On some issues Kennedy is the swing vote and she is then to his right. For example, in Lawrence vs. Texas, Kennedy wrote that sodomy laws violated the right to privacy, whereas she only wrote that Texas's sodomy laws discriminated against homosexuals.

Now if Stevens dies in the next three and a half years then the shit will really hit the fan.