The Good Nancy Wants Our Help -
Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader says: I cannot thank you enough. The DCCC depends on supporters like you to ensure Democratic House campaigns are prepared for the 2006 election battle. We could not do it without you, thank you. The quarter ended yesterday and because of you we surpassed our goals for the Early Match Challenge - we can go into the next fight on firm footing.
That next fight arrived today, when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement.
Over the past few months, we've seen Republican extremism reach new heights. Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist sought to rally the right to his side with the so-called "Nuclear Option" while House Republican Leader Tom DeLay threatened judges for making decisions he didn't agree with - even as violence against judges was raising alarm bells across the country. All of this laid the groundwork for the clash that the extremists have had their eyes on all along: the battle for the independence of the Supreme Court.
With the retirement of Justice O'Connor, who was a key vote in favor of Roe v. Wade, there is is much at stake. The radical right wing will no doubt pour millions of dollars into this fight.
Sign our petition urging President Bush to nominate a moderate, consensus candidate that all Americans can support:
The agenda of the radical right wing is to:
President Bush has an opportunity to nominate a mainstream judge that the American people can unite behind. America enjoys the greatest wealth of legal talent in the world, and there are plenty of Republican judges that Democrats could support. But the radical right sees the opportunity to shape the Court for the next generation by installing an ultra-conservative Justice, and few anticipate that President Bush will turn his back on them for the first time now.
Ask President Bush to nominate a consensus candidate who will unite, not divide Americans:
If President Bush rejects our recommendation to nominate a consensus candidate, Democrats must be prepared to mobilize immediately to make sure that Republicans don't politicize the last independent branch of government. There is nothing Republicans will attack more aggressively than a check on their power, and they will relish the opportunity to install an ideologue for a lifetime appointment. This is but one plank in the unflinching power grab that is the Republican agenda. We will keep up the fight, and we will keep you up to date. Stay tuned, and stay vigilant.
|US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to Retire|
| 01 July 2005 |
|Sandra Day O'Connor|
Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, has announced that she is retiring.
The 75-year-old Ms. O'Connor sent a letter to President Bush, Friday stating that she will leave the court when her successor is nominated and confirmed. She said it has been a great privilege to have served on the Supreme Court for the past 24 years.
Over the years, Ms. O'Connor cast the deciding vote in many 5-4 cases that dealt with hotly contested issues such as abortion and the death penalty.
Her resignation is expected to set off an intense political battle between Republicans and Democrats over who will fill her seat.
The White House has been preparing for a potential Supreme Court vacancy. U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist is ailing with thyroid cancer, but has given no indication that he will step down.
This will be President Bush's first opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. The White House says Mr. Bush will make a statement about the resignation of Ms. O'Connor shortly.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1981, although on July 1, 2005, O'Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court, effective upon the confirmation of her replacement. She was the first woman to serve on the Court. Due to her case-by-case approach to jurisprudence and her relatively moderate political views, she has in recent years been the crucial swing vote of the Court. In 2004, Forbes Magazine designated her the fourth most powerful woman in the United States and the sixth most powerful in the world. 
Life and history
O'Connor was born in El Paso, Texas and grew up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Arizona. She later wrote a book about her childhood experiences on the ranch, "Lazy B," with her brother, H. Alan Day. She attended Stanford University, where she received her B.A. in economics in 1950. She continued at Stanford for her LL.B., graduating in two years (instead of the customary three), serving on the Law Review, and graduating third out of 102 in the class of which William Rehnquist was valedictorian.
In spite of her accomplishments at law school, no law firm in California was willing to hire her as a lawyer, although one firm did offer her a position as a legal secretary. She therefore turned to public service, taking a position as Deputy County Attorney of San Mateo County, California from 1952-1953 and as a civilian attorney for Quartermaster Market Center, Frankfurt, Germany from 1954-1957. From 1958-1960, she practiced law in the Maryvale area of the Phoenix metropolitan area, and served as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona from 1965-1969. She was appointed to the Arizona State Senate in 1969 and was subsequently reelected to two two-year terms. In 1973, she became the first woman to serve as a state senate majority leader in any state. In 1975, she was elected judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court and served until 1979, when she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals by a Democratic governor. During her time in Arizona state government, she served in all three branches. On August 19, 1981, President Reagan, who had pledged during the 1980 presidential campaign to appoint the first woman to the Supreme Court, nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing the retiring Potter Stewart. She was confirmed by the Senate unanimously on September 21 and took her seat September 25.
Sandy and Ronnie "the Rapist" Reagan get cosy ...
Law in the center of politics
O'Connor is part of the federalism movement and approaches each case as narrowly as possible, avoiding generalizations which might later “paint her into a corner” for future cases. Although she formed part of the conservative axis during the later years of the Burger Court, with the departure of the last members of the liberal Warren Court, she is now regarded as occupying the ideological center. It is both O'Connor's dedication to asserting her judicial power over that of other federal institutions and her pragmatic circumspection that has given her a deciding centrist vote for many of the Rehnquist Court's cases.
On December 12, 2000, O'Connor joined with six other (ruling to stop the ongoing Florida recount) and four other (ruling to allow no further recounts) justices to rule on the Bush v. Gore case which ceased challenges to the results of the 2000 election. Some charged that the Supreme Court made a power grab through its decision. Others note that the Court specifically restricted the precedent-setting effect of the decision by holding, "Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities."
Justice O'Connor has played an important role in other notable cases, including Webster v. Reproductive Health Services and Lawrence v. Texas, and was the deciding vote which upheld the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, as well as the vote which upheld affirmative action policies on college campuses. Some suggest that, in making her decisions, O'Connor not only considers the merits of the case and her personal views, but also focuses too much on the prevailing politics of the day. Others counter that she holds very nuanced views and decides each case on its merits. In any event, she is frequently the justice to whom oral and written arguments are directed because she is so frequently the deciding vote.
On February 22, 2005, with Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice John Paul Stevens absent, O'Connor presided over oral arguments in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, becoming the first woman to preside over an oral argument before the Supreme Court.
Justice O'Connor was successfully treated for breast cancer in 1988, and there has since been speculation that she might retire from the Court, although Chief Justice Rehnquist was widely expected to be the first to retire during President George W. Bush's term. Prior to O'Connor's resignation, the membership of the Court has been static for 11 years, one of the longest standing in history.
This is to inform you of my decision to retire from my position as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States effective upon the nomination and confirmation of my successor. It has been a great privilege indeed to have served as a member of the court for 24 terms. I will leave it with enormous respect for the integrity of the court and its role under our constitutional structure.
O'Connor said she expects to leave the high court before the start of the next term in October 2005. Her retirement from active service will take effect upon the confirmation of her successor. If President Bush follows historical precedent, he will announce his choice to replace Justice O'Connor within days, answering months of speculation as to potential Bush administration nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States.
- Official Supreme Court biographies of all current justices (PDF format)
- The OYEZ Project's biography by a Northwestern University law professor
- LookSmart - Sandra Day O'Connor directory category
- Yahoo - Sandra Day O'Connor directory category
- Sparky wants you informed.
PS Previous blog has a link to the Chickenhawk Flash Movie - it'd be funny if Americans were not dying to enrich the GOP elites ... Stay smart.