O’Connor denounces more conservative court, regrets her rulings “dismantled”

As so often happens, presidents can get snookered when making appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Some of the most liberal justices were appointed by Republicans. Earl Warren, was nominated by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower — who later was reputed to remark that nominating Warren for the Chief Justice seat was “The biggest damned-fool mistake I ever made.” Reliable liberal Justice John Paul Stevens still on the bench at age 89, was a Gerald Ford appointee. And Reagan appointed Anthony Kennedy, a leading proponent of the use of foreign and international law as an aid to interpreting the United States Constitution.

In honoring his campaign commitment to appoint the first woman to the high court, Ronald Reagan also gave us Justice Sandra O’Connor, who reveled in being the often disappointing “swing vote.”

After her nomination, a Washington Post headline proclaimed: “Reagan choice for court decried by conservatives but acclaimed by liberals.”

O’Connor played a most significant  role on the Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. In both Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Stenberg v. Carhart, O’Connor’s single vote in support of abortion ensured the survival of Roe v. Wade.

She voted to uphold the constitutionality of the devastating McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, and found a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas. And along with her leftist colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg, O’Connor has, like Kennedy, been a vigorous defender of citing foreign laws in U.S. judicial decisions.  Here is her speech on legal globalization given at the Southern Center for International Studies.

In celebrating Roe v. Wade, the National Abortion Federation enthusiastically devoted a lengthy tribute to the O’Connor Legacy.

A political animal, O’Connor was elected to the Arizona state senate, and later (prior to the current system of judicial selection) campaigned, ran and won a seat on the Maricopa County Superior Court as a Republican. But she held enough attraction for liberal Democrat Bruce Babbitt, that the then-governor appointed her to the Arizona Court of Appeals. That fact alone should have given President Reagan pause.

Now the former justice appears on the pages of USA Today criticizing the fact that some of rulings are being “dismantled.”

And, O’Connor has recently decided the structure of Arizona’s government needs an overhaul and is forming a group to review the currently elected offices she believes should be appointed and the massive reconfiguration of the state legislature she envisions. In today’s political climate, it’s doubtful many citizens will be willing to cede their ability to cast a ballot over to surrogates to do that important job for them.

The Arizona Daily Sun carries a report on the “structural changes,” she thinks are needed. We advise you don’t begin this on an empty stomach.

6 Responses to O’Connor denounces more conservative court, regrets her rulings “dismantled”

  1. Villanova says:

    Good fact filled post. I had forgotten that she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals by Democrat Bruce Babbitt. That bit of information sums her up very well.
    Calling O’Connor a “moderate conservative” as the USA Today article does, is amusing since that description defies logic. It is certainly accurate, however, that she “brokered compromises across ideological lines.” I’d call her a prototype liberal.

  2. Gary says:

    Just recently O’Connor opined that Arizona needs a lieutenant governor. Maybe she’s looking for work.

  3. Frankly Speaking says:

    So not only does she want international law influencing our courts, she also want to rule the state of Arizona by reconfiguring our elective offices and the state legislature. It’s time for this woman to take up knitting. With winter coming on, I could use some woolen socks and a muffler.

  4. Hunter says:

    The suggestion to split legislative districts so that a Senate district is composed of two distinct House districts is a good idea. I’ve never understood the advantage of having the House and Senate districts being exactly the same with one Senator and two House members. Plus, having the top two vote getters as the winners creates bad incentives compared to just voting for one candidate due to some people not casting a second vote to help ensure their first choice wins.

    Other than that, the ideas presented prove that even a broken clock can be right twice a day (or even just once in this case – it must be a 24 hour “International” clock).

    Why is it that every time voters disagree with big government politicians, the voters just didn’t understand the issues? Why don’t liberals assume the voters really do understand the issues and simply disagree with them?

    The current budget problems only highlight the need for state officers to be elected and not serve at the pleasure of the governor. Lacking independence, state officers would not be able to stand up to the governor and protect the interests of Arizona citizens. Can you imagine what kind of financial mismanagement could occur with a Treasurer serving at the pleasure of the Governor instead of being an independent officer? To one extent or another, this applied to all of the elected state officer positions.

    The state constitution prevents too much concentration of executive power of state government which is a good thing. It helps protect our freedom and keep government less dishonest by protecting us from an overreaching person who manages to get elected governor. Can you imagine how things would have been different if Janet Napolitano had that kind of power?

    O’Connor is nothing more than another big government, liberal politician. She should have stayed quietly retired.

  5. Mason says:

    Why is it that only Republicans get stung by so-called “conservative” appointees, but Democrats never appoint a judge only to have him or her turn more conservative than originally thought?

  6. Dennis O'Brien says:

    Good question. Mason. I’d say we are too trusting of what we are told is truth, too hopeful and not pragmatic enough. And, unfortunately, Republican presidents could be regarded as more disengaged on matters of the judiciary, since the last several have not been lawyers. The Democrats have a higher percentage of lawyers in the Oval Office. It could be a failing at getting proper information on the applicants from legal staff. Whatever the reason, I will grant you that we have been hoodwinked far too often.