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Justice O'Connor Retiring

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the leaving-the-bench dept.

United States 1157

rlbond86 writes "The New York Times reports that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be retiring. Justice O'Connor, the first woman to become a Supreme Court justice, is considered by many the crucial 'swing vote' on many issues. How will this affect Supreme Court decisions in the future?" From the article: "Her departure, which had been the subject of rumors for weeks but was still a surprise, will give President Bush his first opportunity to name a justice to the Supreme Court. It is still not clear whether Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who is battling thyroid cancer and had been widely expected to resign, will step down this summer, giving Mr. Bush another seat to fill."

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Great! (1, Troll)

Pres. Ronald Reagan (659566) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962751)

Hopefully this means her wishy-washy vote will be replaced with a more Scalia or Thomas-like vote in the future.

post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962753)

wow first post

not quite numbnuts (-1, Troll)

gremlins (588904) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962771)

not quite numbnuts

Put in Politics section? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962822)

We have a rarely used Politics section on slashdot, and here comes a relevent article, which is placed in the YRO section.........

Which way? (1, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962754)

OK, i'm too lazy too look it up; someone want to get some karma by posting her vote on recent controversial issues?

Re:Which way? (5, Informative)

adtifyj (868717) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962772)

Re:Which way? (4, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962907)

She wrote an absolutely furious minority opinion on the recent eminent domain ruling. She felt very strongly that it was a bullshit ruling, but it passed 5-4 anyway. Oddly enough, it was mainly the so-called "progressives" on the court who voted to give the Big Bad Corporate World the legal means to get governments to push you out of your homes by promising to deliver better tax revenues with the land.

Now we probably need to talk about a new Amendment to the Constitution to protect property rights the way the 5th Amendment was supposed to, according to anybody who gives a fuck about the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

Although she was a Reagan appointee, she's generally regarded as a "swing" vote on a lot of the high-visibility social issues. A lot of 5-4 decisions over the years came down to 4 conservatives, 4 liberals, and Sandra Day O'Connor breaking the tie one way or the other.

Disclaimer: IANAUSSCJ (I Am Not A United States Supreme Court Justice)

American (0, Flamebait)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962773)

Oh, you American.

Re:American (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962919)

Last I checked Michigan was part of the United States.

Re:Which way? (2)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962774)

She dissented on both Kelo and Raich.

Re:Which way? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962785)

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Why is this on Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962838)

I'm quite serious here. The Wikipedia article [] doesn't provide much information. What has Sandra O'Connor done that is relevant to geeks? Was she involved in any DMCA cases? Why is this story on YRO instead of Politics?

O'Connor's Vote (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962914)

Thanks to SCOTUS Blog [] 's sister site Supreme Court Nomination Blog [] for the following info.

Relevant post from which this is taken []

*****Copied Post Follows*****

Which Important Precedents are Likely to Be in Jeopardy?
Jurisprudential Effects | Posted by Marty Lederman at 01:23 PM

These are among the cases in which Justice O'Connor's has been the decisive vote or opinion, and in which a more conservative Justice might well vote to overrule the governing precedent. (Post in progress. Please suggest additional cases.)

Note: Because most Justices consider stare decisis a more serious obstacle in cases of statutory construction, those cases (e.g., the Davis and Jackson Title IX decisions) might be more secure, even if Justice O'Connor's replacement would not have agreed with her as a matter of first impression.

McCreary County v. ACLU (2005) -- Ten Commandments displays

Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Educ. (2005) -- Title IX Liability for Retaliation

Rompilla v. Beard (2005) -- standard of reasonable competence that Sixth Amendment requires on the part of defense counsel

Johanns v. Livestock Marketing (2005) -- assessments for government speech

Smith v. Massachusetts (2005) -- double jeopardy

Small v. United States (2005) - felon firearm possession ban doesn't cover foreign convictions

Tennessee v. Lane (2004) -- Congress's Section 5 power

Hibbs v. Winn (2004) -- Tax Injunction Act

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation v. EPA (2004) -- EPA authority under Clean Air Act to issue orders when a state conservation agency fails to act

McConnell v. FEC (2004) -- campaign finance

Groh v. Ramirez (2004) -- sufficiency of non-particularized search warrant

Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) -- affirmative action

Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington (2003) -- no takings violation in IOLTA funding scheme

American Insurance Ass'n v. Garamendi (2003) -- presidential foreign-affairs "pre-emption" of state law

Stogner v. California (2003) -- ex post facto clause as applied to changes in statutes of limitations

Alabama v. Shelton (2002) -- right to counsel

Rush Prudential HMO v. Moran (2002) -- upholding state laws giving patients the right to second doctor's opinion over HMOs' objections

Kelly v. South Carolina (2002) -- capital defendant's due process right to inform jury of his parole ineligibility

FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001) -- upholding limits on "coordinated" political party expenditures

Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) -- prohibiting indefinite detention of immigrants under final orders of removal where no other country will accept them

Easley v. Cromartie (2001) -- race-based redistricting

Rogers v. Tennessee (2001) -- "judicial" ex post facto

Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (2001) -- state action

Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) -- "partial-birth abortion" ban

Mitchell v. Helms (1999) -- direct aid to religious schools

Davis v. Monroe County Board of Educ. (1999) -- recognizing school district liability under Title IX for student-on-student sexual harrassment

Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network (1997) -- injunctions against abortion-clinic protestors

Richardson v. McKnight (1997) -- private prison guards not entitled to qualified immunity in section 1983 suits

Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia (1996) -- provisions of the Voting Rights Act are constitutional as applied to choice of candidates at party political conventions

Re:Which way? (1, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962939)

She's the main swing vote on the court. She leans more towards the conservitive side, although she's got a fairly good record of voting in favor of individual liberties.

Given that we have a GOP-controlled House, Senate, and Presidency which kowtows to the fundie nutbars, it's almost certian we're going to get a hardcore far right judge as a replacement. When that happens, kiss the Bill of Rights goodbye.

Re:Which way? (3, Informative)

ReverendHoss (677044) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962947) 246 []

Disclaimer: The Nation is a left-wing magazine. But at the bottom is a listing of rulings where O'Connor has been the swing vote in a 5-4 decision.

Nothing to worry about (4, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962758)

With the spirit of common brotherhood that has been displayed in Washington lately (especially in the Senate), the confirmation of O'connor's replacement should go very smoothly.

Re:Nothing to worry about (0, Flamebait)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962897)

Verily, it must be so. Right after the Dems poison all their opposition.

Re:Nothing to worry about (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962915)

You forgot the <Sarcasm> tags ;) -Rick

first post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962760)

awash all the 404 madness

Frist Post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962761)


Replacing O'Connor will be tough... (3, Insightful)

corn52283 (832288) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962762)

We all saw the battle with Bush's other nominations, let's see how badly he can piss the democrats off this time... and if his pick is as bad as John Bolton or Condoleeza Rice, we'll be hearing about it for a good long time... As for Rehnquist, if he retires, that's not just a seat to fill, they need to fill the head seat as well

O'Connor was a Compassionate Conservative (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962832)

Although O'Connor was nominated by Reagan, she proved to be a compassionate conservative, not a diehard conservative. She often voted in favor of strengthening individual rights over the power of the state. She was a graduate of Stanford Law school and is a credit to her profession.

By contrast, Bush is not a compassionate conservative. He is a religious conservative and will attempt to replace O'Connor with an Ann-Coulter think-alike. The Democrats need to fulfill their responsibility to, not only Americans, but also to the citizens of the world; in short, the Democrats need to filibuster every single religious conservative that Bush nominates. So help me, Buddha.

Re:Replacing O'Connor will be tough... (0, Flamebait)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962842)

What's so bad about Condoleeza Rice? You'd think people would be impressed by a strong black woman from Alabama rising from poverty to become Secretary of State.

<sarcasm>Oh right. Sorry. She's a Republican, which makes her a deluded tool of the system. We all know she couldn't have come by her opinions honestly, they're fed to her by BushCoRoveHitler.</sarcasm>

Re:Replacing O'Connor will be tough... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962877)

That and her teeth fucking suck. Her health plan not cover dental or she she a big Letterman fan?

Re:Replacing O'Connor will be tough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962848)

Wow. You managed to write several sentences and dozens of words to say absolutely nothing.

Bravo. Your comment was entirely useless fluff stating the obvious. I hope some mod not paying attention rewards you for your (lack of) hard work.

Re:Replacing O'Connor will be tough... (1)

Tweak232 (880912) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962940)

He dosn't only pis off the democrats. With a republican majority, it is more of a battle between moderates and conservatives, as opossed to democrats vs republicans.

and introducing our new justice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962763)

the honorable Jack Valenti!

Re:and introducing our new justice... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962875)

No need for Valenti, Colin Powell has 2 daughters who could be given the soon-to-be-vacant posts. That way, counting the boy [] , everybody in the Powell family will have taken advantages of daddy's friendship with the prez.

Let the... (0, Offtopic)

wikdwarlock (570969) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962764)

...SCOTUS bashing continue!

Re:Let the... (5, Insightful)

Trifthen (40989) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962896)

Unfortunately this isn't really about SCOTUS bashing. The point here is that two branches of the government are already controlled by one party, and this latest retirement risks sending the final branch in that direction, depending on who Bush decides to appoint.

We already know the Republicans can, if push comes to shove, remove the filibuster option. Think about what this implies... Three branches of the government all controlled by a single party with a single (supposedly) agenda. What happens to checks and balances when there is no more balance, and checks become mere formalities?

Not to sound like a troll (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962766)

but how is this news for nerds or have to do with my rights online? I realize the new judge will make decisions affecting us geeks, but the retirement of the old does not really concern me.

Sorry to flame

Re:Not to sound like a troll (0, Troll)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962870)

I think her replacement is being outsourced to India like any other American job. The Indians can judge better than Americans for lower pay. Gotta love the free market economy. :P

Wow, so how will this affect open source? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962767)

So how does this impact open source software or anything that nerds care about?

Re:Wow, so how will this affect open source? (1)

thetejon (798945) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962886)

This affects everything. And it could affect everything for the next 30 years. Imagine a worst-case scenario where Bush appoints an ultra-conservative Christian lunatic (As opposed to who he should appoint, a moderate with a knack for compromise with good moral values.), and they overturn Roe Vs Wade, allow the Patriot Act to be strengthened, steal more of our civil rights . . .

That's a good example of how it affects the nerds. What if they rule that all of the internet wiretaps they want aren't unconstitutional. Surely that would affect your average nerd.

Huh..? (0, Troll)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962769)

Why is this relevant to the /. community? It's not like the departing Supreme Court Justice is being replaced with a computer.

Re:Huh..? (1)

anoiniminious cowher (876990) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962807)

Haven't been reading /. much lately have you?

Re:Huh..? (1)

adtifyj (868717) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962836)

With Bush at the helm, it may make more sense to nominate HAL for the job.

Obligatory futurama reference (1)

mizhi (186984) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962861)

Chief Justice: The justices and I will now confer using high-speed telepathy. [The court clerk hooks them up and the judges discuss the verdict.] By a vote of six to three we find that flag eating is not protected by the constitution.

Okay... it's not TOTALLY a computer... they're just hooked up to one.

Re:Huh..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962862)

I hope your joking. Things like the DRM, copyrights, patents, file-sharing, etc. Many of the issues that are hot here eventually work their way up through the courts and the buck stops there. You haven't kept up on their last rulings this week, have you? I don't want to sound rude, but these are VERY important. I hope that answers your question.

Re:Huh..? (1, Insightful)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962887)

Purely because, assuming that you didnt just crawl out from under a rock, SCOTUS has been the focus of a number of Slashdot discussions (mainly Eminent Domain and P2P) plus it has ruled recently on a variety of issues that has relevance to the community, technical or not.

What the current administration and the Christian groups will love to see is for Bush to push two conservative judges thus tilting the balance in SCOTUS firmly towards conservative rulings for the near future. Since Justice O'Connor mainly provided the swing vote in many rulings, its a clear win for the conservatives to replace her with someone that is far towards the right. If Bush suceeds (whether he wants to or he is forced to) expect a lot of contentious issues (think Roe Vs Wade, Prayer in Schools, Pornography, Flag burning) to end up again at SCOTUS.

This is one court that has always held me in awe, in the manner at which justice that has been passed down and the fairness of its rulings. I am afraid that is about to change, for good or bad.

Re:Huh..? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962935)

Not nessesarly so. You forget that Supreme Court judges have been extremly strange in this manor. It seems that every judge that has been put into the SC has drastically changed their opinions and manors of conduct. I think its a matter of being safe from having to answer to political pressure.

YRO, that's how. (0, Troll)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962894)

She just voted in favor of removing people's property rights (that was last week). That is a very highly publicized news item recently.

The /. community would be wise to support a replacement that respects the constitution and will vote against any decisions to take your rights away (be it property rights, patent reform, privacy rights, etc.)

Re:Huh..? (1)

mopomi (696055) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962904)

How is this NOT relevant to the entire community (US and otherwise)? This is one of only NINE people who have ultimate say in interpreting ALL the laws of the US, laws like the PATRIOT act, laws involving copyright, laws involving data transmission, laws involving environmental stewardship, etc.

How can you possibly think this isn't relevant?

Re:Huh..? (1)

ReadParse (38517) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962913)

Notice that it's posted in the "Your Rights Online" category, a category that I actually bitch about quite a bit, but which has its moments of propriety. And I think this is one.

A lot of the slashdot crowd gets overly-excited about things that they purport to be their rights but which are actually not rights at all, such an employer "violating" your freedom of speech, which is not possible, since that freedom to speak protects you only from your government, not including when that government is your employer.

This story, however, does qualify for the category, I think, because the Supreme Court decides a lot of issues that have impact on the IT world. And Sandra Day O'Connor is one of the more critical justices on the Court, because she is a moderate and, therefore, a swing voter. Her opinion is usually the opinon of the court. So replace her with a hardliner from either side and the balance of the court will definitely change to favor that side.


Re:Huh..? (1)

rho (6063) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962966)

You can say she's a moderate. You can also say that she's a confuser. That is just as accurate. Decisions like the recent Ten Commandments one, where they say "this is okay, this is not" only serve to confuse the issue, requiring that every subsequent case be brought all the way to the Supreme Court.

There is no clear guidance from a "moderate". I don't like Ginsburg's decicions, for instance, but at least I know where she stands.

Re:Huh..? (1)

(trb001) (224998) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962918)

Because a great many YRO articles have to do with court cases dealing with privacy. Many of those, including the recent filesharing case, make it to the SCOTUS. The selection of a new judge (replacing a notorious swing vote, incidentally) will change the outcome of those cases in the future.


Good Riddance. (-1, Troll)

glrotate (300695) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962770)

The woman was senile. Read her opinions on the affirmative action cases and see her do a total flip-flop within a few years.

Re:Good Riddance. (1)

kmmatthews (779425) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962867)

*Gasp* You mean it's not all right to change your mind about something?

How dare someone make a mistake, ever.


And why this is a news for nerd ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962777)

Yes seriously ?

Bring on another Scalia (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962784)

We've seen how the liberals on the court have been destroying America. Eminent domain anyone?

Re:Bring on another Scalia (3, Informative)

numbuscus (466708) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962828)

Yeah, those damn liberals on the court! All 2 of them that were nominated by democrats!

Florida, Florida (-1, Troll)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962786)

Is that the same Sandra Day O'Connor that stopped the recount and helped Dubya get the cool job in 2000? I'd say it's about time she retires. I only wish she was forced to, by a public scandal, but it never happened.

Re:Florida, Florida (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962866)

Heh. Yea because a position that is set for life by the US Constitution is so sensitive to public scandal.

The fact that O'Connor wasn't forced to retire because of a scandal or public opinion because of a decision shows that the US Constitution is working in regards to the Supreme Court.

Re:Florida, Florida (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962949)

If it's the Sandra Day O'Connor who would normally advocate restoration of states' rights in the new Federalist manner, but chose to override the Florida State Supreme Court in the matter, then I think it's the same one.

Re:Florida, Florida (2, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962950)

the same Sandra Day O'Connor that stopped the recount

You mean who helped stop the Fla court from changing the local election law after the election. Well, I guess it doesn't matter. The LA Times, NY Times, and Washington Post all conducted their own independent counts and found that GWB was the winner.

Boooo (0, Troll)

BooRolla (824295) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962789)

I'm really not looking forward to Bush filling one "for life" seat. Filling two is 2x shitty.

Re:Boooo (1)

Pres. Ronald Reagan (659566) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962827)

Your post was insightful and you are a smart person!

To quote Bender... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962798)

We're boned. or (3, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962799)

Under any other administration, I could see this one clearly going to the politics section of Slashdot. But, undoubtedly, the fundie whackjob that Bush will nominate for the open SCOTUS seat better places this story under YRO.

Justice O'Connor Retiring (1)

Hachey (809077) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962801)

You know, I think it'd be to citizens' advantage not to put people on the bench that were old enough to be on cash. Consistency is what the voice of law needs, ya know? Having said that, I hope Bush puts some very old judges on to replace the leaving justices. We don't want anymore of this crap [] .

Check out the [] :
The only wiki source for politically incorrect non-information about things like Kitten Huffing [] and Pong! the Movie [] !

About time. (2, Interesting)

Capt. Caneyebus (883802) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962803)

It is about time we can get some fresh blood into the SC. Let's just hope they can actually put someone good in that is young and can actually grasp today's technology better.

Be afraid... (1, Insightful)

confusednoise (596236) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962806)

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Never has there been a president more intent on making sweeping changes and pushing an agenda that upon final analysis is fairly marginal (and more truly radical than most realize).

Supreme court appointments are no joke - these appointments will likely have more long reaching consequences than any other actions taken by this president.

Re:Be afraid... (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962923)

"Never has there been a president more intent on making sweeping changes and pushing an agenda that upon final analysis is fairly marginal (and more truly radical than most realize)."


Abraham Lincoln
Franklin D. Roosevelt

To name two.

With a bit of luck..... (0, Flamebait)

Nagatzhul (158676) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962808)

we will replace her with someone who will protect the Constitution instead of creating whole, new laws from scratch on the bench.

Good riddance to the woman.

Re:With a bit of luck..... (-1, Flamebait)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962969)

Remember, everything including the Constitution can and should be sacrificed as long as it hurts Bush. After all, he is the great evil...bla bla bla.

We have too many liberal pussies (socialism/ anti-war advocates) on this forrum. Is it any wonder why geeks get the shit kicked out of them? Pansies. Somethings are WORTH fighting for...including the Constitution.

Question. (2, Insightful)

rackhamh (217889) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962810)

I'm going to show my lack of knowledge concerning the SCOTUS here, in the hopes of learning something new.

How is it determined which of the justices is the "swing vote"? Presumably, the swing vote is a concern in decisions that are split 5-4. But if there are 5 justices voting in a particular direction, how is it known which of those justices was undecided? (And, in fact, shouldn't they ALL be undecided until they've considered the merits of the particular case?)

Do the justices reveal their deliberation process? Or are particular judges just considered "swing votes" because they aren't consistent in the leaning of their decisions? (Which would also strike me as somewhat questionable behavior from a SC justice.)

Please enlighten me!

Re:Question. (1)

voice of unreason (231784) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962905)

She was considered a swing vote because her opinions could often go either to the left or to the right. Therefore, it would often happen that there would be 2 sides of 4 judges each, all of whom were fairly predictable, making O'Connor's vote critical.

Re:Question. (1)

MadMorf (118601) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962933)

How is it determined which of the justices is the "swing vote"?

I don't know that it is "determined", but usually a swing voter would be a Centrist, which O'Connor has shown herself to be, in the long run...

A real Centrist's votes would/should "swing" back and forth between Progressive (formerly Liberal) and Conservative issues. Otherwise, they would fall into either of the other camps...

Re:Question. (4, Informative)

rcs1000 (462363) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962963)

Well: the Supreme Court typically (and this is by no means always) tends to split into two seperate camps:

(1) The "progressives" or "liberals", who have tended to favour an "expansionist" interpretation of the constitution, and have typically been in favour of Roe vs Wade.

(2) The "conservatives" who typically are more "creationist" and who believe that "if it ain't in the constitution, we shouldn't try and add it."

Because many issues fall clearly into one of the two camps, and there are some justices that reliably support one side rather than the other (i.e. Stevens is as liberal as they come for example) the decision often depends on the "swing" justices.

Of course, there are issues that transcend this simple left/right analysis, and even within this there are sub-groupings: states rights are one area (Clarence Thomas is normally staunchly conservative but voted that California's pot laws should not be overturned ), and religion another. The recent Grokster case is also interesting, if only because of the dissenting opinions filed. (Which indicate that the decision might have been entirely different if just 10% of the traffic was for "legitimate" purposes.)

Anyway: this is all very interesting, and for anyone with an enquiring mind I highly recommend reading some of SCOTUS's rulings.



Re:Question. (1)

Dr. Transparent (77005) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962964)

I find the concept of a "swing" vote pretty much anathema to the whole point of the court. Personal opinion not withstanding, here's why she's a "swing vote":

Over the past few years especially, when you look at decisions that were made 5-4 she is *very* often in the group of 5, regardless of who the other 4 were. In some ways she's kinda like the court's version of /dev/rand that's used to break ties.

We are sooooo.... (-1, Flamebait)

teutonic_leech (596265) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962811)

... screwed

Confused... (0, Flamebait)

daalro (846755) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962818)

This news is not nearly nerdy enough to be posted on Slashdot. What gives?

Only one word springs to mind: (0, Redundant)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962819)


What rights online? (-1, Troll)

magarity (164372) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962821)

What exactly does this have to do with any specific rights online? It's just a troll-fest waiting to happen.

I hereby submit that posts in 'YRO' topics be subject only to + mod points since it's just a slam session of who can get mod points from their side before being cast into -1 oblivion.

O'Connor's impact (1, Informative)

onree (680951) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962823)

From We've already noted the critical role Sandra Day O'Connor has played as a Supreme Court swing voter over the last 24 years. Here's more on that front -- People for the American Way's list and description of notable 5-4 Supreme Court decisions that could have gone the other way if a more conservative justice were sitting in O'Connor's seat: * Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) affirmed the right of state colleges and universities to use affirmative action in their admissions policies to increase educational opportunities for minorities and promote racial diversity on campus; * Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation v. EPA (2004) said the Environmental Protection Agency could step in and take action to reduce air pollution under the Clean Air Act when a state conservation agency fails to act; * Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran (2002) upheld state laws giving people the right to a second doctor's opinion if their HMOs tried to deny them treatment; * Hunt v. Cromartie (2001) affirmed the right of state legislators to take race into account to secure minority voting rights in redistricting; * Tennessee v. Lane (2004) upheld the constitutionality of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and required that courtrooms be physically accessible to the disabled; * Hibbs v. Winn (2004) subjected discriminatory and unconstitutional state tax laws to review by the federal judiciary; * Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) told the government it could not indefinitely detain an immigrant who was under final order of removal even if no other country would accept that person; * Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (2001) affirmed that civil rights laws apply to associations regulating interscholastic sports; * Lee v. Weisman (1992) continued the tradition of government neutrality toward religion, finding that government-sponsored prayer is unacceptable at graduations and other public school events; * Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington (2003) maintained a key source of funding for legal assistance for the poor; * Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia (1996) said key anti-discrimination provisions of the Voting Rights Act apply to political conventions that choose party candidates; * Federal Election Commission v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (2001) upheld laws that limit political party expenditures that are coordinated with a candidate and seek to evade campaign contribution limits; * McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) upheld most of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, including its ban on political parties' use of unlimited soft money contributions; * Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) overturned a state ban on so-called partial birth abortion; and * McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky (2005) upheld the principle of government neutrality towards religion and ruled unconstitutional Ten Commandments displays in several courthouses.

Let the eagle soar!! (0, Flamebait)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962825)

This means that Bush has his chance to appoint John Ashcroft to the Supreme Court where he can do some REAL damage. Wouldn't that be fun?

Welcome to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962833)

Well, now that Bush will get the chance to nominate two justices, America will be changing its name to ....

The Christian Republic of America!

It is a big deal. (0, Flamebait)

Ken Broadfoot (3675) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962834)

So far no one here seems to care too much about this. The supreme court makes decisions that truly affect our lives..

If the vote in florida had been allowed to finish most probably hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's would still be alive as well as 1700+ americans.

It may not be news for nerds but it IS stuff that maters.


Re:It is a big deal. (3, Insightful)

PaxTech (103481) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962901)

What are you talking about?? Clinton administration policy was for regime change in Iraq, Gore is on record before 2000 calling for regime change in Iraq, and most importantly it's been shown that Bush would have ultimately won any Florida recount anyway!

Re:It is a big deal. (2, Funny)

coopaq (601975) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962948)

If the vote in florida had been allowed to finish most probably hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's would still be alive as well as 1700+ americans.

Objection you honor! Speculation.


This is relevant because... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962840)

As we all know Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is actually a beta cyborg developed by Microsoft. She is actually an updated version of the Rhenquest Alpha model which is currently undergoing repairs to attempt to lengthen it's life cycle.


We Need another woman.... (1)

BitwiseX (300405) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962841)

Judge Judy has my vote!

A new Court (1)

Azeron (797264) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962843)

I am surprised by this decision. It had been rumoured for a week or so, but I didn't think she would do it. This is going to herald in a new much more conservative court, and is perhaps the most significant legal development in about 30 years. What makes this more significant is that with Requinst likely to retire soon as well, the next justices likely to retire are all liberals. With Bush's Presidency set to last till 2008, considering the advanced ages of those liberal Justices, that Bush may be able to make a 3rd or 4th, most likely from some natural ailment such as a heart attack.

A divided Court no more, for better or worse for another decade.

Re:One of the Worst Judges (1)

eukreign (125727) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962941)

She voted against the broadening of eminent domain! That is enough for me to respect her more than any of the other judges who voted for taking peoples property away.

Two Tickets to Mars, please! (0, Flamebait)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962855)

Now's the time to see if my dual citizenship still holds...

Re:Two Tickets to Mars, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962888)

i know lots of people that say things like that, but then they never move away...

Bush names successor (2, Funny)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962884)

In related news, President Bush has announced plans to exhume Hitler's brain, have it surgically implanted in a Great White Shark, and to nominate that shark for Justice O'Connor's seat on the court. No comment yet from ocean swimmers or fish schools about this development.

DSL anyone? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962893)

One aspect of the recent cable internet decision, is that the baby bells now feel that they can bar third party internet providers from providing DSL service.

I know a friend of the family recently was told by AOL that they needed to find another DSL provider.

Yeah free market, what ever. Monopoly of infrastructure.


sinserve (455889) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962900)

Mean while old-man Rehnquist is still around.

With the recent close votes (5, Insightful)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962916)

in the supreme court, and the lack of any recent appointments to the highest court in America, it seems like a good thing that there will be some new blood in the justice seat. I don't personally support everything Mr Bush has done as president, but he is my president, and as such deserves my respect.

I personally supported almost nothing the previous president did, but I still respected him for being President of the United States.

Also note that the justices appointed don't always carry otu the 'wishes' of the appointer. President Ford, a fairly conservative leader, managed to get one of the more liberal judges appointed.

What we really need is to get judges who stop trying to legislate from the bench, and return to applying law to the case, not writing law for a case.

I Nominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962917)

Diana Ross

VACANCY (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962920)

evangelical christian?
old, white, and crazy?

please mail your resume to:
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

well.... (1)

TheClam (209230) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962924)

I'll be the last one to praise Bush for his....well, anything, really; and the last to agree with his post-election '04 statement about his "mandate"; but you've got to figure, statistically at least, that any president who serves two terms will get to appoint at least one Supreme Court justice.

Now comes the endless fun of watching him try to nominate someone....whoo-eee! I can't wait to see the gems he picks, and whether or not the Democrats will continue to have the balls to do anything about it.

(mod me what you will - and shouldn't this be in politics?)

This is MORE important than if Rehnquist left... (4, Informative)

katharsis83 (581371) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962925)

O'Conner's retirement is actually much more important than if Rehnquist had retired; on a pretty wide array of social policies, i.e. abortion and affirmative action, O'Conner has been the swing vote in the 5-4 decisions. Rehnquist, on the other hand, tends to vote conserative, period. Slashdotters might be pleased to know she was a key vote in the challenge to the President to arbitrarily detain individuals w/out review:

"It is during our most challenging and uncertain moments that our Nation's commitment to due process is most severely tested," she wrote last year for the court in the Iraq-war era case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. "And it is in those times that we must preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight abroad. . . . We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens." ~ taken from the Washington Post article today.

There are pretty much two options for Bush to play this:

1) He tries to appeal to the Hispanic vote, key for his party in upcoming elections, by nominating Alberto Gonzalez. Problem is, the Christian Right, would be pretty pissed about this, since they think he'll vote to keep Roe v. Wade and affirmative action. Just a reminder though, this is the same guy who authored the infamous legal documents saying we don't need to treat prisoners from Afghanistan under the Geneva Conventions, and wanted to redefine torture more loosely.

2) He tries to please his core-base, the social conservatives, by nominating someone likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, and affirmative action. This'll set off a firestorm on the right AND left.

Option 1 would be the far more moderate choice, and less likely to create a protracted battle in the Senate, which SEEMS to be what he was hinting at he wants when he said in his speech that he wanted a "dignified" nomination process - of course this could just be posturing.

Another interesting tidbit will be to see how the "Gang of 14" in the Senate, who avoided the filibuster showdown, will react if Bush goes with Option 2. No offense to the "Gang of 14," but I think that pressure from far right and left interest groups are gonna tear the agreement under asap. Especially since Frist hates the agreement, since it was pretty much a slap in the face to him when key Republicans went around him to get it done. I doubt he'll lift a finger to try and negotiate if Bush nominates a social conservative like Scalia or Thomas.

Just a few thoughts. The comings weeks will be fun to watch.

So! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962927)

And this has what to do with my rights online? Are you guys going to start posting stories when court parking lots are full? Just to let us know that this might effect yro?


I wonder how the media will play this out? (1, Insightful)

SengirV (203400) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962928)

I mean, I remember all the calls from the media know-it-alls lobbying for Clinton to appoint centrists - *LMAO*

Sorry, I couldn't keep a straight face.

remember... this posting is for life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12962929)

Just what America needs, right now...
A new supreme court justice [maybe two] who will back up those important neo-conservative views, like the inapplicability of the Geneva Conventions to "enemy combatants", &c... If GW gets a relatively young'un in, they could color federal law for another couple of generations.

Heck -- They [the USSC] might even be able to finally, officially get rid [] of [or, at least, severely cripple] those pesky first ten Constitutional 'Amendments' [] that those whining left-wing Liberals keep bringing up.


Back into the closet with the buttsex & aborti (1, Troll)

OwP_Fabricated (717195) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962934)

It was a good run anyway.

Justice Takes a Holiday (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#12962956)

Interestingly, all the dissenters in the Bush v Gore [] decision to install Bush as president are hanging tough. Considering Rehnquist's been reporting to work during chemo, O'Connor's retirement while she's in apparent good mental and physical health seems like a copout. Maybe she just doesn't have the guts to deliberate a case brought later in Bush's term over a Constitutional Amendment declaring a "person" is any human, starting at conception (unless it's gay).
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