Tuesday, July 05, 2005

We'll Miss You Sandra D.

I saw the news last Friday right after it was posted, and my immediately felt a twinge of fear-induced nausea in the pit of my stomach. As you probably know by now, Sandra Day O'Connor announced her resignation from the Supreme Court. I have nothing but respect for Justice O'Connor, long the voice of the middle. Frequently the deciding vote on a split decision, she did a very good job of balancing the interests of society and the individual. On occasion, I disagreed with her conclusions (e.g., FCC v. Brand X), but I generally understood her views and had to respect them. The voice of compromise on the SCOTUS will be sorely missed. Her resignation is what I have been fearing for 5 years.

Her resignation begs the question of who will be her replacement. The BBC has a good rundown of some of the main contenders. This seems to be the list that I have typically seen. I can't believe that I would actually be hoping for Alberto Gonzalez. Yeah, the guy that said torture was okay. But he is the most moderate of the bunch, considered "too moderate" by many conservatives. (As side note, I always smirk when I hear "too moderate." Talk about double speak. "Too" means "excessively." But "modereate" means "not excessive." So "too moderate" means "excessively not excessive." In truth, "too moderate" is code for "we want a fucking nutjob activist.")

Consider the alternatives for the abortion issue. John G. Roberts has argued that "government-funded doctors and clinics could not talk to patients about abortion." Michael McConnell has "called for a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions." Notice, that is all abortions. What's that? You were raped? We don't care. You must care that baby to term. Quite crying. You probably deserved it for wearing that slinky red dress. Or Emilio Garza, who wrote in an opinion, "Ontological issues such as abortion are more properly decided in the political and legislative arenas." BULLSHIT! Abortion is more properly decided between a woman and her doctor.

Aside from the abortion question, consider that we could end up with J Michael Luttig. He struck down domestic violence legislation, deciding that Congress had overstepped its bounds. Luttig has been criticized by other judges for "being swayed on ideological grounds rather than judicial argument." Or McConnell, who doesn't believe the federal government should have a role in protecting civil liberties or workers' rights. Just what this country needs. Replace a moderate voice of reason guided by compromise with a radically conservative activist judge.

I was hoping that Justice O'Connor would hold on for a few more years. I could have dealt with Bush appointing a replacement for Justice Rehnquist, with whom I almost never agree. Depending on whom Bush ultimately nominates for O'Connor's successor, this could rank near the top as having the most lasting damage on the American populace.


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