05 July 2005

The Legacy of Justice O’Connor and What Comes Next

The feeding frenzy has started. Although it is a different justice than the one everyone had been expecting to resign, the clouds are nevertheless gathering as predicted. With Sandra Day O’Connor’s announcement that she will be retiring from the United States Supreme Court, the whole country shudders at what will come next, because president Bush will have to nominate a successor. No candidate will be acceptable to everyone and loud protests, both in Congress and on the streets, are a certainty.

Sandra Day O’Connor’s legacy is a mottled one. No conservative liked her, since she often ruled against clear constitutional principles. Her support of Roe v. Wade, reaffirmed in a 1992 ruling, marked her off as a key disappointment to the conservatives who supported her. Appointed in 1981 by Ronald Reagan, and the first woman on the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor was expected to infuse some conservative soundness into the court. Instead, she proved to be the continuous swing vote. Lawyers soon realized that the key to winning a case in front of that panel, was ignoring the other eight justices and instead winning over Sandra Day O’Connor.

In that sense, the comment in the New York Times, that Sandra Day O’Connor was sometimes called the most powerful person in America, is spot on. Since the Supreme Court has become the final arbiter in all of the hotly contested cultural issues, its rulings have attained enormous influence in the country. Justice O’Connor’s deciding vote on nearly all these issues has hugely magnified her importance in shaping the political climate of the country.

Considering the current make-up of the Supreme Court, it is imperative that president Bush nominate a sound conservative judge to replace Justice O’Connor. At the moment, the court is more or less balanced between a number of irresponsibly liberal judges and some conservatives of varying degrees of rationality, with O’Connor tipping the balance on all important issues. Her replacement will upon inauguration tip that balance one way or the other.

It is quite true that potential justices should not be asked questions about potential future rulings. That is not fair to anyone, since without a crystal ball they cannot predict the exact legal parameters of any future case. However, there should definitely be a number of litmus tests: pro-life issues and church-state relations are the two prime areas of concern. The Senate should only approve justices who not only disagree with but are fervently critical of the travesty known as Roe v. Wade. In the same way, only those justices should be confirmed who are willing to stop the erosion of the rights of Christians (the only religion against which the courts are issuing discriminatory rulings).

I am thus unabashedly calling for a conservative judge. This country does not need liberal judges. They have already imposed their tyranny in many places, illegally imposing same sex ‘marriage’ on the citizens of Massachussetts and striking down perfectly constitutional laws that would have protected the unborn from barbaric abortion techniques.

Nor do we need another swing vote like Sandra Day O’Connor, turning this way and that just as the wind blows. When she was once asked what her tombstone should read, she answered, “I hope it will just say, ‘Here lies a good judge.’” Unfortunately, she was a decidedly bad judge, with a brilliant mind she chose not to employ. Instead, she was often swayed by the emotions of a case, ignoring the legal arguments completely. We do not need that again.

The president should not bow to Ted Kennedy’s blackmail remarks which all but promised to take the country down the path to filibusters and the nuclear option. The chess game has started and the clock is ticking. Let’s not make any foolish moves or lose sight of the long-term effects.

1 comment:

Broken Man said...

Spot on, spot on. All the aye's have it.