Former O’Connor Criticized for Political Activities While Continuing To Sit As Judge

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.

Source: RealClearPolitics

29 thoughts on “Former O’Connor Criticized for Political Activities While Continuing To Sit As Judge”

  1. Yes, “a nurse”… No lawyer, I, but learning a bit from the learned ones on this blog…

  2. Lets do the math…5 votes less 1…does not equal a majority of 9…so she is pari delicto…don’t you agree raff

  3. rafflaw,

    The four horsemen, indeed. Wasn’t breast cancer a factor for her, as well? I’m not sure… perhaps I’m thinking of one of the other female justices… (not that breast cancer isn’t a problem for men, too…)

  4. OS,
    I think she retired from the Supreme Court to take care of her ill husband. I am not sure, but he may have passed away. I still have not forgiven her for Bush v. Gore, but she was not as criminal as Thomas, Scalia, Roberts and Alito. The four horsemen.

  5. Her other great accomplishment has not been mentioned yet. She resigned her seat on the SCOTUS just in time for Shrub the Lesser to appoint that creature he put on the bench. She alleged she was not able to work. Well, it looks as if she is still working.

    I hope ol’ Scratch has reserved an especially hot corner of Hell for her.

  6. rcampbell
    1, April 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm
    I have no respect whatever for O’Connor and wish her only ill. She bears the ultimate responsibility for the tragic appointment of GWBush as President. She did on the lamest of reasoning. By her own words she has said she was heartbroken by the pain her friend Barbara Bush was going through so she sought to end the controversy.

    ====================================================

    Are you kidding me!!??? … she voted to end the count thus installing that man in the Office of President of the United States because she was concerned for the pain his mother was experiencing over vote counting?

    If that is true, then may that be the only thing for which she is ever remembered and may generations to come spit on her grave!

    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.

  7. And on topic, what rc and raff said.

    I too lost any respect I had for the woman over Bush v. Gore.

    She may have had impunity against sanction as a SCOTUS Justice, but she needs to face the music now.

  8. If O’Connor is in violation of ethics now that she sits as an Appellate judge, she should be sanctioned. Of course, I thought she should have been sanctioned for her vote in Bush v. Gore.

  9. I have no respect whatever for O’Connor and wish her only ill. She bears the ultimate responsibility for the tragic appointment of GWBush as President. She did on the lamest of reasoning. By her own words she has said she was heartbroken by the pain her friend Barbara Bush was going through so she sought to end the controversy.

  10. Shooting up isn’t the issue. I’ve seen people as screwed up by prescription pills as any heroin addict. Seriously, if you are concerned, you and Joe should consider talking to a local attorney about involuntary committal. The only place she’s going to get the help she needs is in a hospital. They can ween her off whatever substance is the issue and address her fixations.

  11. It is not like she is shooting up or anything. She really is a nice person when she is not doing these things. I worry for her safety, I really do. There is just so much Joe and I can do.

  12. “Do any of you have any suggestions on how she could be helped?”

    If you are really concerned for her and there are substance abuse (?) issues involved, involuntary committal is something to consider if you have standing and the jurisdiction allows for it.

    I’d suggest consulting a local attorney and seeing if this is an option.

  13. Replicator says: I am not copying or jacking threads. If you think this is Kay, I am a friend of hers. I have tried to get her to get her help. Do any of you have any suggestions on how she could be helped? I feel really bad for the people that she has affected. She is really a nice person that has had some personal issues arise and she does not really know how to deal with them. Please any suggestions are welcome. I am really worried about her substance issues. I think she is trying to drown herself in them.

  14. kay . . . spamming under an assumed identity.

    You shameless threadjacker you.

Comments are closed.