Wednesday, September 27, 2006

O'Conner Strikes Back

Sandra Day O’Conner proved her lack of reasonableness and inability to remember decisions made by the court during her tenure. In an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal O’Conner tries to argue that the judiciary in the United States in unfairly criticized as activist legislating from the bench. Her argument is weak, though somewhat interesting in what it reveals.

O’Conner states that the Courts role is to interpret the law without political influence or bias; has this ever been the case? She goes on to mention that another function of the court is to protect certain classes of the public from the depredations of legislators and that it is generally successful in this effort. While on the court, and over her objections, the Justices interpreted the public good of imminent domain to mean that the interests of real estate developers who might pay higher taxes supersede the interest of poverty level landowners. This does not seem to square with part of her case.

She goes on to decry the security threats to judges and laws making it possible to prosecute judges for various misdemeanors. It is of course deplorable that anyone should be subjected to threats to their person and feels forced to install security systems and personnel. Unfortunately this is the state of the world with extremists on both sides going way over the top in their reactions.

O’Conner would have served the reading public better had she been honest about her views. She, and no doubt every public official, has an exaggerated idea of her worth in society as juxtaposed to “everyday” citizens. The beauty of the United States is that no such status is permitted simply because one has accepted the call of the citizenry to service. This is a civic obligation and a privilege that most are not called to. For her to imply that judges are not influenced by their own feelings is ludicrous. They, as we all do, have the need to impress their friends, frustrate their enemies, and feel good about themselves; a task that might be impossible in a truly impartial judge.

The most egregious statement is the bemoaning of the proposed legislation to prevent judges from using foreign law in interpreting the US Constitution. This is an amazing proposition as United States citizens have no desire to be ruled by the EU, the UN or any other alphabet judicial system.

Please read her comments when you can and see what you think.

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