Sunday, March 12, 2006

Come Back, Justice O'Connor, Come Back!

This week on Morning Edition Nina Totenberg (whose recounting of Supreme Court proceedings have the breathless drama of, say, an All My Children update) reported on an amazing speech that Sandra Day O'Connor just gave at Georgetown. O'Connor barred recording of her speech, but Totenberg gave us the gist, which is that O'Connor blasted Republicans for trying to use the courts to advance their agenda. It seems that O'Connor used the word "dictatorship" while discussing this phenomenon.

You can listen to the story here.

A Philadelphia Daily News blog--don't take it any less seriously because of the gigantic cheesesteak that is its Jolly Roger--recounts the Totenberg report here.

An excerpt:

I, said O’ Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and formerly Communist countries, where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O’Connor said we must be ever vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.

I saw the above picture in the Times I suppose in the late summer or early fall. The photographer is David Hume Kennerly. Caption: Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, sitting in the twilight of the era in which women were thought to be men's equal, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg emit rays of wisdom, steely resolve, compassion--and just a little human frailty.