July 03, 2005 | Graham

Sandra Day O’Connor retires

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court has retired. Justice O’Connor tended to be the swing judge on the US Supreme Court, with some difficult-to-predict decisions. For example, on affirmative action she ruled against legislation that took account of race in federal government contracts, but for racial affirmative action in college admissions.
Liberals in the US are girding-up their loins for a fight to ensure a replacement they can live with. Moveon.org, a US PAC that apparently has more Australian members than all of our political parties together, says “From the Patriot Act to the Terri Schiavo tragedy, in the last four years the Republican leadership has exploited every opportunity to attack the basic American right to keep our private choices private, and to make personal decisions without government intrusion.”
They don’t want another Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia:

Below are just a few examples of landmark cases where Scalia or Thomas voted against O’Connor to try to strike down core rights and freedoms. In many cases if they had one more vote they would have succeeded.
Worker’s Rights: Nevada Dep’t of Human Resources v. Hibbs, which protected the right of workers to care for newborn children or gravely ill family members.
Women’s Rights: United States v. Virginia, which allowed women to attend all publicly funded schools. (C’Connor was not on the Court at the time of Roe v. Wade, but has opposed Scalia and Thomas on reproductive freedom issues in such landmark cases as Planned Parenthood v. Casey)
Church and State: Locke v. Davey, which ensured that states could not be required to fund religious training.
Envrionmental Rights: Friends of the Earth , Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services (TOC), Inc., which protected citizens’ rights under the Clean Water Act to sue against the illegal dumping of mercury and other toxins.
Civil Rights: * Dickerson v. U.S., which upheld the “Miranda” guarantee that people accused of crimes are read their rights. * United States v. Fordice, which protected the rights of those still suffering from the effects of state-enforced racial segregation. * Grutter v Bollinger, affirmed the right of state colleges and universities to use affirmative action in their admissions policies.
Civil Liberties:Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, which blocked the government from indefinitely detaining American citizens without charges, an attorney, or any basic rights.

It makes you realise that sharing a language with the US can easily blind you to how different a place it really is. Hard to see any lawyer you could realistically appoint to a bench here being too “Conservative” on any of those issues.

Posted by Graham at 1:59 pm | Comments (1) |

1 Comment

  1. Imagine appointing fred nile, or one of those family first or national party member nutteres.
    The neo-cons that now make up the liberal party would happily see a conservative elected to the bench over a greenie or left winger

    Comment by alphacoward — July 7, 2005 @ 8:22 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.