Sandra Day O’Connor: Ultra-Conservative Roberts’ Court ‘Dismantled’ her Decisions

October 5, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is unhappy that a lifetime of her decisions are systematically being dismantled by the conservative U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. She made her comments during a recent panel discussion sponsored by William and Mary Law School.

Sandra Day O’Connor, 79, retired from the Court in 2006 and has been alarmed at her many consensus decisions reached during her term in areas of abortion, campaign finance and government race-based policies becoming chipped away by the conservative Supreme Court.

O’Connor was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981, who served as a moderate conservative and was responsible for negotiating compromises across ideological divides.

Responding to a question from an attendee at the weekend conference, O’Connor spoke about her disappointment with decisions of the current court:

“Asked how she felt about the fact that the current court had undone some of her rulings, the nation’s first woman justice responded, “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,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor also spoke of the need for diversity on the highest court, in areas of “sex, professional experience, geography and religion.”

“I don’t think we should have nine clones up there,” O’Connor said.

She noted that all nine justices were elevated to the Supreme Court from U.S. appeals courts, with six Catholics, two Jewish justices and one Protestant making up the current bench. “I don’t think they should all be of one faith, and I don’t think they should all be from one state,” said O’Connor.

O’ Connor would like to see more women on the nation’s highest court and she praised President Obama’s appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. But at the same time, the former Supreme Court Justice said only three women Justices in the entire history of the Supreme Court, was “… not enough.”

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