Friday, October 9, 2009

Toobin on O'Connor and the Supreme Court.

The Brown Daily Herald reports on a speech given by Jeffrey Toobin, author of 2007 book The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.

On issues ranging from the death penalty to gay rights to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the Court in the first part of the decade narrowly sided with the liberals, due in part to O’Connor’s new voting patterns, Toobin said.

O’Connor was alienated by many of the policies instituted by President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft, Toobin said, but one case had a particular impact on her: Terri Schiavo.

O’Connor was unhappy in 2003 when Congress suddenly became involved in the issue of who determined the rights regarding the woman, who was in a persistent vegetative state. O’Connor thought Congress’ move challenged judicial independence, and was also affected personally because her husband was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Toobin said.

In 2005, O’Connor retired because of her husband’s failing health and Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, leaving two seats for Bush to fill with justices “in the mold of” Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — Roberts and Alito.

This week, O'Connor publicly commented that some of the decisions made by the court while she was on the bench "are now being dismantled." Liberals found this as proof that even the conservative O'Connor disapproved of the direction the court was heading in. Yet her quote was less than an indictment: "What would you feel? I'd be a little bit disappointed. If you think you've been helpful, and then it's dismantled, you think, 'Oh, dear.' But life goes on. It's not always positive."

Other's have said this elsewhere: If she were so concerned about the conservative direction of the Supreme Court, she wouldn't have retired in 2005 during George Bush's term.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home