Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is under fire for continuing her political advocacy while she continues to hear cases in U.S. appellate courts. In a prior column, I criticized the increasingly public and political profiles of current justices. O’Connor was viewed as a justice who, while on the court, maintained a “base” and an active speaking schedule. Various critics have now noted with good-faith concern that O’Connor is lending her name to political causes while sitting as a federal judge.
The interesting twist is that Supreme Court justices are not subject to the same rules of ethics as lower court justices. However, O’Connor is no longer a justice and sitting as a lower court judge. She should, therefore, be subject to the same ethical rules as her fellow panelists. As such, these campaigns are clear violations of the neutrality demanded for federal judges.
The tipping point for O’Connor came with 50,000 recorded telephone calls made to Nevada voters supporting a ballot measure to change the way state judges are selected — many of which came in after midnight. O’Connor insisted that she did not authorize the calls, even though her voice was used on the calls. She did not deny that she did a television commercial, however, in support of the campaign.
O’Connor also hosted a reception at the court that was billed as a celebration of Bristol Bay in Alaska. But the featured speakers, other than O’Connor, were opponents of a proposed Alaskan copper and gold mine.
O’Connor was the majority leader of the Arizona State Senate. Her partisan inclinations were evident on election night when CBS reported that Al Gore had won Florida in 2000. O’Connor reported exclaimed “This is terrible.” She went on to vote in favor of Bush in the controversial Bush v. Gore decision. However, she recently opined that the decision may have been wrong.
While I was critical of O’Connor’s often conflicting opinions as a justice, I happen to like many of her causes as a citizens. However, she has to decide if she wants to be an advocate (a worthy function) or a federal judge. By hearing cases, O’Connor continues to earn salary increases on top of her $213,900 salary.
29 thoughts on “Former O’Connor Criticized for Political Activities While Continuing To Sit As Judge”
reader 1, April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm
Aren’t you worried that you will be retaliated against for publishing this article?
Buddha Is Laughing 1, April 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm
kay . . . spamming under an assumed identity.
You shameless threadjacker you.
…that was a big oooops…no?
“rcampbell … could you possibly cite a place I can find that quote … I don’t doubt what you are telling us but I would love to be able to cite it. Oh boy, would I ever love to be able to cite it”.
My wife read it in the book, “The Nine”.
I wish you wouldn’t beat around the bush! Don’t be afraid to speak your mind! I understand the feelings about O’Connor’s actions as a Supreme, I was merely mentioning that I thought the reason she resigned was due to her husband’s health. I do think she should be accountable for the votes that allowed Bush to assume office in 2000. It was a history changer and as you mentioned thousands died because of it.
Never mind racing to the top, O’Connor’s a real contender in a race to the bottom of slimey justices.
I know 🙂 … I just feel very strongly about this piece of filth …
Don’t misunderstand… I agree with you completely, Blouise… I couldn’t agree more.
Sick husband, breast cancer, worried friend, hoping to be appointed chief … whatever the reason there are thousands of dead people, people who had dreams, people who had loved ones, all dead thanks to the Bush’e Administration failure to heed the signs that 9/11 was coming. There are hundreds of people who suffered under the torturer’s blade thanks to the Bush Administration. Hundreds of thousands who lost their homes thanks to the Bush Administration. Criminal CEO’s who stole tax dollars in the billions thanks to the Bush Administration.
Sick husband, breast cancer, worried friend, ambition to be chief … who gives a flying f**k … generations shall spit on her grave for her vote gave Bush the presidency, a presidency the people’s vote did not support … what a complete sham she is both as a judge and as a human being.
She’s from Arizona, right? Figures …
Thanks for sharing that… (No saint, I …)
I’m learning a lot from you good folks here… I only wish that there were more time in a day… Off to work shortly…
Always closest to my heart…my sainted mother…was a great nurse…. she was a director at 2 different hospitals during major expansions in Houston….this was the 60’s and 70’s….
I may not know much…but I’ll share what I know…deal…
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