July 01, 2005
O'Connor leaves the Supremes
Justice O'Connor just announced her decision to resign from the Supreme Court. O'Connor, a conservative, could always be counted not to rely upon neo-con ideology and instead render a thoughtful and well reasoned opinion.
In these times when our country is terribly polarized, leaders like O'Connor, who are willing to consider both sides of an issue are desperately needed. It is unlikely that Justice O'Connor will be replaced by someone who has her strengths.
If Dubya decided to replace Justice O'Connor with a female jurist, she may be replaced by Edith Hollan Jones. She's on the short list submitted to the current administration by the Christian Legal Society. (Samuel Alito, a 3rd U.S. Circuit judge from Philadelphia, and Michael W. McConnell, on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were also recommended, as possible candidates by The Christian Legal Society.)
Judge Jones practiced law in Texas and now sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. A really ugly Title VII dissent to her discredit proves that Judge Jones lacks Justice O'Connor's capacity for critical thought and reason. Harriet Miers, another Texas lawyer, and White House Counsel would be a much better choice. Ms. Miers is widely respected by all those who know her.
But my money is on Emilio Garza of the 5th Circuit. Garzo could give Dubya the chance to name the first Hispanic justice. Alberto Gonzales, might have otherwise been in the running, but is now unsuited for nomination in light of his memo that provided that detainees could be subjected to torture without running afoul of the Geneva Convention.
Actuarial tables alone suggest that Dubya will be able to name at least two new justices, and perhaps as many as four. Chief Justice Rehnquist, 80, suffers from thyroid cancer, and will likely announce his retirement in the next week or so. Justices John Paul Stevens is 85. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 72, has also been treated for cancer.