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Ms. O’Connor, the Dustbin of History is That Way

The fawning has already begun to be lavished on Sandra Day O’Connor just hours after her announced resignation. It is good that we will have an ugly confirmation circus to distract us in coming days so that no one is led to say anything ridiculous about O’Connor that they will later regret. Ooops…too late.

"Justice O'Connor has been the most important figure on the court in recent years." – People for the American Way

“Justice O'Connor restored a measure of common sense to our criminal justice system, a measure of respect for our nation's allocation of power between the states and the federal government, and a measure of freedom in the public square to people of faith." - Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas.

O’Connor was "a discerning and conscientious judge and a public servant of complete integrity." – President Bush

We must grant elected officials some latitude in their press releases and remarks since it would be impolitic for Bush or anyone else to simply say, “good riddance.” However, diplomatic etiquette has never been a hang-up in the blogosphere.

"It has been a great privilege indeed to have served as a member of the Court for 24 terms,” she wrote to President Bush. “I will leave it with enormous respect for the integrity of the Court and its role under our constitutional structure." I think she means “over our constitutional structure,” but details never really hindered her pronouncements.

History will not be kind to O’Connor. Certainly her status as the first woman on the Supreme Court is noteworthy. But only the dimmest could have actually wondered if a woman could serve on the Court and needed proof. The rest of America needed a justice, regardless of gender, who would be faithful to the written constitution and who would cultivate a reasonable and defensible jurisprudence.

O’Connor provided neither. In fact, even the most liberal judicial activists such as Ginsburg proved to be at least predictable. O’Connor was a wildcard because her jurisprudence was undisciplined, driven only by desired outcomes. She is not the only practitioner of this long-standing monarchical burlesque, but her record shows her firmest convictions lay not with the constitution and not with the voice of the people, but with her own impressions. She has had a leading role in. When the federal judiciary is finally cowed, as it must be eventually, by the will be people, O’Connor will be remembered as Exhibit A in the decline of the Supreme Court.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 1, 2005 11:40 AM.

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