No prizes for correct guesses as to the story that had flooded my news aggregator this morning.
Now I must admit to ignorance when it comes to American judicial politics, partly because I had this naïve notion that there wasn’t much politics involved in the judiciary and mainly because I am not American. The only thing I knew about Justice Sandra Day O'Connor before today was that she was meant to be at the centre of a divided SCOTUS and that she was one of the dissenting judges from a disturbing majority decision in that property rights case from a two weeks ago.
So I spent a couple of hours this afternoon reading various articles and listening to a couple of interviews on her life and her approach to the job and I must say, I dig this chick.
This feeling of admiration is probably due in part to the sympathy I feel for those who get accused of being wishy-washy when in fact they really are trying to be as consistent as possible in their values but realise the complexities and individuality of each circumstance and problems that they encounter.
I think this was evidenced in an answer she gave in an interview to NPR’s Nina Totenberg who asked: “what are your feelings about being so often described as a decisive fifth vote?" O’Conner replied, “I think it is ridiculous because all nine people have to cast a vote and there is no way to single out one as being more significant than another.”
Totenberg pursued: “If the court is divided somewhat ideologically and it’s very clear that one person is sitting in the middle and whichever way she or he casts the vote decides the outcome…”. But O’Conner was having none of it: “I am not sure it’s very clear if it’s going to be one way or the other but for one vote, so I get a little impatient with that notion.”
Such faith in the justice system and in her fellow justices after being so involved for so long is quite inspiring.
Of course with her resignation comes all the speculation about the next appointment and I just thought I’d take this opportunity to bring your attention to one of my favourite political bloggers; Jay Cost, who ran the most insightful commentary on the last American presidential election. Now blogging over at Redstate.org his advice is that the President would be better served by a smooth nomination through the Senate. Check out his entry and check out some of the comments below, which argue that maybe a long hard fight is exactly what the President needs right now to remobilise support.