Waldlaw Blog

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Sandra Day O'Connor

Very bad news on the Supreme Court front. I remember how frustrated I was when Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court. Finally a woman on the Court, and it had to be that one. So conservative -- so clearly not a feminist -- so ... appointed by Ronald Reagan. And yet Justice O'Connor has been a smart and independent voice of reason on the Supreme Court, working hard to create alliances amongst the Justices of different political stripes, forging a true center on what could otherwise be a deeply divided court. Many, many issues have been decided by 5-4 votes recently. Abortion hangs by a 5-4 thread, as does affirmative action. Many criminal justice issues -- such as capital punishment for juveniles -- get decided by 5-4 votes. And Sandra Day O'Connor has been the 5th vote on those and many other issues. This is a turning point for our high Court. This is a turning point for our Nation. Most of all, this is a turning point for the Democrats in Congress. They can stand strong to demand that the next appointee to the Supreme Court be a centrist and an alliance-builder, as was O'Connor. They can refuse to allow the lfetime appointment to our Supreme Court (and yes, I do mean our Supreme Court) of another rightwing idealogue in the mold of Rehnquist and Scalia and Thomas. Or they can fold, as they have so often recently, and drive yet another nail into the coffin of our two-party system of government.


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