July 01, 2005
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor calls it quits.
Let the political fun begin!
Bush must be twiddling his fingers in excitement...
12 years ago
This is good news. I would rather have a reliably conservative justice than a wavering swinger. If both Stevens and Rehnquist retire in Bush's term, maybe the era of 5-4 results will finally come to an end.
[this is really, really bad] *shivers in boots*
we're all in trouble now.
Oh crap. And so it begins. . . To be honest, I've been so in denial about this whole issue, purposely not reading anything about who George W.'s candidates-in-waiting are, that I, well, don't know who they are! Can anyone tell me?
we're all in trouble now.
No we're not. Slightly more than half the voters voted for Bush precisely
of this possibility of SCOTUS openings (among other things). Look around you. America is a right-of-center nation. Ignore the momentary lag in Bush's popularity numbers. That's simply buyer's remorse. The 2004 Republican voters will happily vote for the next Republican nominee. No one seriously believes that the country will swing to the Democrats in 2008.
No one seriously believes that the country will swing to the Democrats in 2008.
I dunno about THAT. That the nation is right-of-center I believe, but the margin is thin enough that the candidate with the right mix of either economic or social moves to the right could easily put the Democrats back in the White House. And there's the quagmire factor. 2008 is still a long ways off. [/derail] I haven't followed her career as much as I suppose I should, but based on the Kelo decision alone, I'll be sad to see her go. And if I hear somebody say the word "Bork" one more time, I will tear their throat out with my teeth. Let it go, man, let it GO.
Any supreme court candidate will have to be vetted by the Senate, several members of which body you may recall just recently deftly defanged Frist's nuclear option gambit, quite possibly for just this moment. It would seem prudent for Bush to look very closely at moderate conservatives or even a liberal with rightish tendencies, as O'Connor has exhibited recently (being on the dissenting side on both Kelo and the medical marijuana decisions), to avoid a dustup in the Senate that can, in my opinion, do him or the coming Republican candidate no favors. Let us wait and see who the choice is before we begin acting impetuously.
All of Blogistan seems to be musing about how Roe v Wade will finally be overturned, as O'Connor was the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v Casey. How can overturning Roe
be a good thing? Finally, after so many years of tortuous rhetoric, the legislature (i.e., the representatives of the people) will be allowed to weigh in on the issue. Having the legality of abortion rest on the shaky ad hoc interpretation of privacy rights was never sound or fair. This is a great opportunity for Democrats to shine, assuming they are still the "pro choice" party. Somewhat unrelatedly, if the nomination wars finally result in Frist using the nuclear option, then all the better. Filibusters have done much more harm than good in our history.
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. June 8-12, 2005. N=1,464 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3. "In 1973 the Roe versus Wade decision established a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Would you like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn its Roe versus Wade decision, or not?" Yes No Unsure 6/2005 30 63 7 1/2003 31 62 7
Finally, after so many years of tortuous rhetoric, the legislature (i.e., the representatives of the people) will be allowed to weigh in on the issue.
Let's see how the people feel about it.
>>we're all in trouble now. >No we're not. Slightly more than half the voters voted for Bush precisely because of this possibility of SCOTUS openings I think the sense of 'we're all in trouble' was 'oh good- now the Supreme Court will be delivered into the hands of the geniuses responsible for the war in Iraq, the federal deficit, etc., etc.'. Whether or not we're in trouble doesn't really have anything to do with how many people support Bush. If your wife or husband likes to fall asleep smoking, then 50% of the people in your bed are in favor of not worrying about it and just letting the cigarette burn out on the mattress... but you're still in trouble.
This who country has been borked since the 1980 elections. You poor kids.
"Ignore the momentary lag in Bush's popularity numbers. That's simply buyer's remorse."
It was my understanding that Bush was and is the most unpopular President in living memory; the only reason he ever got high poll numbers was because of the WTC atrocity and his apparent response to it. If that is the case, then this 'buyer's remorse' is really a return to reality. Bush needs another atrocity on home soil to boost his popularity again, which would also be a catch-22. From over here, at least, he's looking shakey.
This news surprises me. I wonder what her reasons are; she seems in excellent health. Trivia: before she was appointed to the Supreme Court, she was a prosecutor (I believe) in Arizona. Her son married the daughter of the family next door to us. I spoke with her numerous times, and thought she was very smart and articulate.
Oh, shit. Tensor: You're wrong on so many things that it's not even worth my time to correct you. Perhaps you'd be happier chatting it up with the Freepers?
Her hubby is totally sick, so she's retiring to take care of him, yaherd?
I believe there has been some speculation on her possible resignation due to the fact that her husband, John Jay, is ill with cancer and recently moved back home to Arizona.
it's not even worth my time to correct you
Oh, that's quite all right. I wouldn't want to be an imposition on your no doubt busy schedule.
Supreme Court: What You Can Do RIGHT NOW
it's not even worth my time to correct you Oh, that's quite all right. I wouldn't want to be an imposition on your no doubt busy schedule.
Now now... Say, got that Friday feeling?
The worst part of all of this is that apparently the front-runner for the job is our
Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. How the hell could this man go from personal lawyer to an idiot to SCOTUS justice in less than a year?
Slightly more than half the voters voted for Bush precisely because of this possibility of SCOTUS openings
i'm surprised at this comment. did the make up of the supreme court really loom so large in people's minds during the election? i'm not usian, but to me the scotus nominations have always seemed quite secondary to issues around the economy, defense, social security, medicare, etc.
>>Any supreme court candidate will have to be vetted by the Senate ...as well as the entire blogosphere. kid you not. hang on to your hats, this is going to be interesting to say the least. can you imagine? now there are literally tens of thousands of self-proclaimed "citizen journalists" out there ready to dig into the backgrounds of any and all comers. here's a scenerio for you: picture if we'd had the internet during the clarence thomas fiasco. yikes.
I hate to jump into the fray more, but... As a member of Planned Parenthood, I often get sent stories of young women who are denied Emergency Contraception ("Morning After Pill") by pharmacists who are morally and religiously opposed to abortion. Often, these women describe driving around to pharmacy after pharmacy trying to get the drugs they need before it is too late (72 hours). Ocassionally, the pharmasist will refuse to return the prescription as well as fill it. Imagine for a second if that was you (or your daughter, sister or best friend). Currently, Roe v. Wade protects a woman's right to choose to end a preganacy. O'Connor upheld that right, writing:
Roe's essential holding be retained [505 U.S. 833, 834] and reaffirmed as to each of its three parts: (1) a recognition of a woman's right to choose to have an abortion before fetal viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State, whose pre-viability interests are not strong enough to support an abortion prohibition or the imposition of substantial obstacles to the woman's effective right to elect the procedure;
.... Now, whether or not you think such things should be decided by the courts, or Congress, I don't know. Currently, we have a decision that says, yes it is protected. A lot of people think that it shouldn't be, so I am extremely reluctant to open it up for debate now in the legislature. It's when I think of those girls and women who had their choices taken away from them that I sign those checks to Planned Parenthood, make sure to never forget to take my birth control every day and always make sure that I have codoms in my drawer.
did the make up of the supreme court really loom so large in people's minds during the election?
I can only speak for myself, but it certainly did in mine. After the Iraq war, it was perhaps the second most important issue. (I won't tell you whom I voted for. It will spoil the fun.)
Can anyone tell me?
took a look at some of the likely candidates, although it was written when they expected Rehnquist to be stepping down, not O'Connor. I wonder if that changes things - if there'll be more pressure to find a suitable female candidate.
Excellent point SideDish. This may indeed be a pinnacle of sorts for the
Any more doomsday rhetoric and we may have to defibrillate. I used to think MoFi had more perspective than this...
This is good news. I would rather have a reliably conservative justice than a wavering swinger.
I'd rather have someone like O'Connor who voted on the merits of each case rather than knee-jerk party loyalties. The SCOTUS should rise above party politics, not be a tool of them. They're supposed to uphold the constitution, not the Demorats or Republicans.
What meredithea said.
"Uphold the constitution" is not a straight and narrow path. The cases before the Supreme Court are almost always cases involving tricky interpretations of laws or the Constitution. Often there are multiple valid points of view (note the dissenting opinions).
I hope the person who replaces O'Conner is of equal or greater value. I respected her even when I may have disagreed with her. I can't say that about Scalia or Thomas or Rhenquist.
The SCOTUS should rise above party politics, not be a tool of them.
Impossible, since party politics inevitably infiltrates any political decision. Any justice will be alternately villified and praised for any decision they make when it doesn't fall along party lines. And it's foolish to think that justices don't have political motivations for their decisions. That doesn't mean they aren't attempting to uphold the Constitution. The way they interpret the Constitution becomes the issue.
The SCOTUS should not be a tool.
Don't know much about the candidates, but here's one:
How cool that her husband is named John Jay (like the
first U.S. Chief Justice
), and that she was confirmed 99-0. While
listening to former Sen. & U.N. ambassador John Danforth
on the radio recently, I noticed that he said he would not want to see Thomas become Chief Justice (Thomas is a personal friend and supposedly Danforth doesn't want to go through the pain of another confirmation), and I think he also said he hoped that Bush would not make the same mistake that his father did by nominating someone like Souter. That might be hard advice to follow, though, given that candidates who are very expressive of their views will find it hard to get through confirmation, and lower profile ones who take the stealth Souter approach of keeping mum during that process would probably have an easier time.
>>"Uphold the constitution" i read that as "uphold the constipation." ouch.
I used to think MoFi had more perspective
Ho ho. The delight of political NewsFilter.
well, i suppose we mofites need to come to some agreement as to who we will throw our mighty backing behind in this fight.
How about... Bill Clinton?
I would rather have five Supreme Court Justices whom I could not predict their decision because they analyze each case based on what is in the constitution and other applicable legal precedents. As opposed to having any number of justices whose votes can easily be mapped to the political agenda of the party who put them in power. The whole point behind the lifetime appointments is to encourage non-political judges, not to have, for example, Conservative Activist Judges pushing their Christian agendas. Nor even Libertarian Activist Justices pushing their Anti-government agenda.
Nor even Liberal Judges pushing their Liberal Agendas? Or does such a beast not exist?
Everyone hears about the "Liberal Activist Judges." I figured I'd highlight a couple of the other types.
What you're suggesting is simply impossible, Sandspider. Few Supreme Court decisions are unanimous. Where there is leeway--within the parameters of reasonable interpretations of the constitution--a justice will follow his or her ideological leaning. How can it be otherwise?
Or even the Whig Activist Judges who push their, um, geez, what did the Whigs stand for? Their, um hairpiece agendas!
Heh! Thanks for keeping the thread "in-check" Sandspider!
If Sandra Day O'Connor can be what you call a "wavering swinger", why is it "simply impossible" to find a few more? If most of the decisions are based on ideological leanings, why bother having a supreme court? Why not just have the Executive and Legislative branches fight it out to decide which way the decision should go? I suspect more cases can be based on the intricacies of constitutional law than you give credit for.
Quick Googling later: Or even the Whig Activist Judges who push their infrastructure expanding ways. And toupees.
Sure, it's possible to find justices who behave chaotically (within, and I stress this because you keep missing it, the parameters of reasonable interpretations of the constitution). I am questioning the worth of such justices. Give me a reliable conservative over an unreliable political opportunist like Kennedy or O'Connor. (The Supreme Court, as an institution, is already extremely conservative.) (Note that conservative does not mean reactionary or radical right-wing.)
Specifically conservative in that specific context, so noted. So what you're saying, and I'd like some more insight into this if you can, is that someone who doesn't vote on predictable political lines is more likely to be making politically-based decisions than someone who does vote on predictable political lines? It doesn't make much sense to me. I would greatly appreciate some examples to start my path to understanding.
I had this conversation with young females who told me that they were going to vote for Bush. Me-Why are you voting for Bush? YF-Because I liked how he handled 9-11. Because Gore is a liar. Because Gore is stupid. Because Kerry is a phony. Because Kerry has no personality. Because I just like him. Me-What issues are important to you? YF-Uhhh. Me-Is your right to have an abortion important to you? YF-Yes. Me-Do you know what Bush's position on abortion is? YF-No. Yes, but he can't change it. Yes, but he just says that. Me-Are you aware that we have 5 Supreme Court justices who are conservative, but the one female one votes in favor of abortion and that if she leaves the bench she will be replaced by someone who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and states will be able to make abortion legal? YF-I don't believe that. No. They can't do that. Young females, you might want to consider moving to a liberal state.
What I'm saying is really quite simple. Say issue X has two possible interpretations, one in favor of the status quo (SQ) and another based on a progressive, novel interpretation (NI). A reliable conservative-leaning judge would pick SQ on principle. A reliable liberal-leaning judge would pick NI on principle. A waverer or political opportunist would broker his decision to maximize some hidden utility, which might depend on such things as who's in power in the executive branch, his personal relationships, the phase of the moon, and the like. I would personally favor the reliable judges. In my lay opinion, O'Connor wasn't reliable. I might well be wrong about O'Connor, and it may or may not be worth your time to tell me how I'm wrong, but I hope you are not confused any longer about what I mean by "I would rather have a reliably conservative justice than a wavering swinger."
So a conservative justice would uphold Roe v Wade because it's the status quo? In that case, I am reassured.
A conservative justice might, but a Conservative justice would not. But,
, I'm not looking for hypothetical reasoning on outdated uses of the terms conservative and liberal, what I'm looking for is, for example, actual cases that have happened, and why Sandra Day O'Connor had based her interpretations on the Political Opportunity, and which politics she was opportuning.
That's my question too, Sandspider. I don't know what opportunities she was supposedly availing herself of. I figured she was just taking her judicial responsibility to uphold the constitution seriously, and not cowtowing to the political biases of the people who appointed her. Boy, they won't make THAT mistake again! I mean, appointing somebody who'll take that whole "letter and spirit of the law" thing seriously! Can you imagine?
That is a reason why the vote to overturn Roe v. Wade will be so awful. The doctrine of "stare decisis" states that any Court has to be bound by the decision of an equal or greater Court that has decided the same issue. Under "stare decisis," the Supreme Court is obligated to follow the Supreme Court's decision from 1973. However, there are reasons for not applying "stare decisis." One of the reasons that the Court can use to overturn a case is a changing in the public opinion. For example, if far more people now want to make abortion illegal than did in 1973, then the Court can overcome stare decisis by relying on the significant changing of public mores since the last case. My understanding of public opinion between then and now would be that it has changed very little. I believe that more people now actually favor abortion being legal. As such, overruling Roe v. Wade would require Justices ignoring the doctrine of stare decisis and making law based on no recognized theory. That would be the definition of what an activist judge does.
bernockel iz teh smrt on lawz. Ay amm teh st00pid. Well said, b. *golf claps*
People also seem to be shocked that O'Connor had the temerity to CHANGE HER MIND on an issue, after having researched it and given it careful and informed thought. The noooooiiivve.
As such, overruling Roe v. Wade would require Justices ignoring the doctrine of stare decisis and making law based on no recognized theory.
That's the problem. The theory they're trying to base the changes on is called "the bible".
Or even the Whig Activist Judges who push their, um, geez, what did the Whigs stand for? Their, um hairpiece agendas! posted by Sandspider at 08:22PM UTC on July 01, 2005
Keeping James II off the throne, toleration for Dissenting protestants (but apparently not for Catholics), and eventually kicking people out of the forest so they could go sport hunting. Then later they were all about writing progressive histories promoting themselves :)
I'll go long on this, ands ask who Rove wants, because he makes the call. Believe me, with or without him (I am politically conservative) he is the fart behind the stink.
and I have just been taken into custody. See you later.
Finally, Sandra does look old, and I hadn't heard aboout her husband (I'm in a dream), so I didn't know.
It's funny, I don't think O'Connor looks a bit like the Swedish Chef. "Bork Bork Bork!" (throws Sword of Damocles into the wall behind her as she leaves the world unable to articulate in clear English why America isn't Borked)
what I'm looking for is, for example, actual cases that have happened, and why Sandra Day O'Connor had based her interpretations on the Political Opportunity, and which politics she was opportuning.
Well, with the caveat that I don't have a law background so the following is likely nonsense, I would say that Bush v. Gore is the prototypical case where her decision was purely political. I doubt, actually, that the decision was even within the parameters of what I've been calling "reasonable interpretations of the constitution". I don't know how much of this is factual, but apparently O'Connor wanted to retire in a Republican administration, so she was peeved when Florida was initially called for Gore in 2000. She wanted Bush to win so she could retire. (One wonders why she waited five years to announce her retirement. Also, can one divine from her announcement now that she expects the next administration to be Democratic?) Sorry, this isn't a very informative response to your request for substantiation of my claim that O'Connor is an opportunist. I'll retract the claim, with apologies.
O'Connor isn't an opportunist; rather, she's one of the more constitutionally grounded justices. Her decisions reflect a great respect for and an adherence to the Constitution, and her track record does not indicate that she's played fast and loose with politics. I haven't always agreed with her decision, but I definitely believe she is a great justice and will be sorely missed by the Court.
Do you believe, then, that the Bush v. Gore decision was constitutional?
She had to wait five years to retire because if the following are true: 1- She is heard to day "this is terrible" regarding the announcement of Gore for Florida (this alone should have made her recuse herself from the decision) 2- She has said that she wants to be replaced by a Republican appointment Then her deciding the case for Bush and retiring immediately thereafter would look very, very suspicious. Back in 2000 I predicted that she would retire in year 5 of the Bush presidency (if there was going to be a year 5) so that she could avoid this problem. Alas, it is year 5 and Bush has won without her help. Now she can retire.
And then there were 8. 8 little blind Justices all in a row... who will retire next? Bork bork bork bork.
What you LUSERS are forgetting here is that the Justice League needs a BALANCE of superpowers and abilities to function properly. It's true that O'Connor's invisibility and super-strength were useful, but the League has long needed a Justice who can fly and has a cooler outfit - and I APPLAUD the President's immanent appointment of HAWKMAN to this august institution.
You fool! Hawkman was destroyed by Placebo and his minions of Spyder-Pros. Didn't you read the last issue? I'm guessing we'll see Kelo the Destroyer or Pluto Bob taking O'Connor's place.
Oh you republicrats are always on about Kelo the Destroyer and his amazing knowledge of torts law. Need I remind you that his decision in
City of Gotham v Dr Doom
was widely criticized on appeal - by no less an authority than AQUAMAN? "My X-ray vision sees right through your deposition, counsellor" - WHATEVER dude.
Don't make me school you with my power ring. Then you'll know what it is to have a conviction overturned.
I think it will be Alberto "the hispanic" Gonzales. He'll be the bomb!
Tradesports thinks Gonzales is likely pick to replace O'Connor
Gotham v. Dr. Doom would indeed be a groundbreaking decision in the annals of supervillain law, as it allowed a Marvel villain to sue a DC city, ostensibly for failure to capitulate to his demands for immediate surrender, and further suing Batman for (wait for it) battery. However, the decision had the unforeseen effect of leaving other fictional cities open to legal action by supervillains living in real-world cities. Thus Keystone City was soon brought into court by Modok, Star City faced legal action from The Leader, and Metropolis found itself on the defense against Magneto and the Brotherhood of
Wicked Sweet Mutants. By effectively expanding its jurisdiction into territory previously reserved for one-off crossovers or at the most mini-series events, the SCOTJLA put an amazing amount of legal power into the hands of the most megalomaniacal villains and super-powered ne'er-do-wells ever to hold office, and tied the hands of heroes and ordinary people alike, who, being sworn to uphold the law, could only sit by and watch as The Wizard and The Kingpin litigated their way to supreme rulership.
Next time, Vote Green! Oliver Queen/Hal Jordan in 08!
groundbreaking decision in the annals of supervillain law
Dude, annal sex is totally illegal under the Spandex Uniform Code. Don't ask, don't tell, don't use your X-Ray vision to find out! Ollie/Hal! Ollie/Hal!
My parents have a reference series titled "Annals of America." Dude, it would be like, totally legal, though maybe uncomfortable, and very historical.
They need to keep Hal Jordan as the Spectre. He makes a much better Spectre than he does a GL.
Too late. Jordan's back as GL. The Spectre is currently operating without a host, and some shit is going down.
Seen on DKos:
to announce his retirement tomorrow.
Retired Supreme Court Justice hits attacks on courts and warns of dictatorship
How Sandra Day O'Connor became the least powerful jurist in America.