Skip to comments.The Mainstream Media's Canonization of Justice O'Connor - (well-l..she was a "swinger!")
Posted on 07/05/2005 6:26:41 PM PDT by CHARLITE
Usually, any serious push toward making one a saint, or canonization, happens when that person is deceased. After a five-year waiting period--and the proof of a miracle or three--the candidate for sainthood is deemed to have attained the blessedness of heaven and authorize the title Blessed and limited public religious honor.
Miraculously enough, recently retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor has been sainted by the mainstream media in less than one news cycle since her announcement on the morning of July 1.
Even Pope John Paul II, whose five-year waiting period has been waived, is just beginning his journey toward sainthood.
Justice OConnors retirement has sent media institutions into fits of hyperventilating judicial pragmatism. It has long been thought that Justice OConnor was the jurist that one had to convince in order to tip the nine-member court one way or the other. The phrase that you will be hearing from now until President Bush picks a nominee, is swing vote.
Indeed, Justice OConnor was a swinger of sorts. OConnor could be the darling of conservatives when ruling upon states-rights issues, school-voucher issues, and of course, Bush v. Gore in 2000.
But she could also be the love of liberals when the issues before the court were affirmative action, church and state matters, and abortion. For most on the left, her most celebrated ruling came in 1992, in which she and the court upheld the 1973 landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade, with OConnor stating that it is a rule of law and a component of liberty we cannot renounce.
OConnors resignation, though not unexpected, was still a surprise. Most court observers expected Chief Justice William Rehnquist to be the first to retire. It has been an eleven-year stretch between appointments, when Justice Stephen Breyer was nominated, by President Clinton, and then confirmed in July, 1994.
Consequently, a political storm has been brewing, and President Bush is in the eye of it. It was then-candidate Bush in 1999 who campaigned on a platform of wanting strict constructionists on the bench. Predictably, the mainstream media are going to great extremes to instruct him otherwise.
This is due to the resignation of OConnor, whom the media suddenly views as goddess-like in her 24 years on the bench, in which the Republican Party owes its success to because of her ability to save the right wing from the worst consequences of its extremism. (Go here).
Rubbish. If the New York Times had asked, the right would have declared that Justice OConnor is just one of a handful of disappointments put upon the court for the wrong reasons. Obviously, OConnor was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court. But that in itself did not make her the most qualified.
It is this potential for cherry-picking nominees on the basis of breaking new ground, or even the immense pressure that President Bush will be under to appoint another woman jurist that conservatives do not want to see. The law is blind, and the Constitution will not know if a judge is a he or a she, Hispanic, black, or white.
But unfortunately, those in the beltway do know, and the need to build a constituency among groups that have otherwise been slow in migrating towards the GOP banner may make this Supreme Court pick academic.
Consider the medias trumpeting of Bushs attorney general, Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales, if picked, would be the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court. New ground will have been broken, the media will say, and Democrats may well hail Gonzales as a voice of moderation who embodies the fundamental American values of freedom, equality and fairness. At least, thats what the moments talking points are for Democrats.
This is the same Alberto Gonzales who was accused by Senate Democrats of advocating torture for terrorist detainees some months back during his Senate confirmation hearings. In the end, Gonzales received the 60 votes needed for confirmation, and became the first Hispanic to hold the cabinet position of United States Attorney General.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Gonzales would not receive 60 votes now. He is the easy choice for Bush, but he is also the wrong choice. Gonzales is prized by the liberals and the media for the simple reason that he represents a safe vote on abortion, and thats enough for them.
While I do not think that abortion should dictate the appointment of a lifelong jurist to the highest court in the land, neither do I think that the president should shy away from the abortion fight. If Gonzales had solid constitutional principles, but still believed in a womans right to choose, it may be something that the GOP base could live with. But other than being pro-choice and a friend of the abortion lobby, Gonzales reminds too many as a stealth candidate, and Republicans have seen just how under the radar these supposed solid conservative jurist have been.
All you have to do is look at the record of Sandra Day OConnor to determine this, or listen to the breathless accolades that she has received from a liberal media and the Democratic Party. Can you imagine this adoration for Justice Scalia when he retires? Or Justice Thomas?
Because of OConnors more-than-occasional dalliances with the left side of the court--particularly her rulings on abortion and partial-birth abortion--the media and the Democratic leadership are more than forgiving of OConnors quasi-conservatism. To them, she represents what Bush should be looking for: a consensus candidate, but one that is pro-choice, of course.
Elections have consequences, and to the victor go the spoils. Picking a Supreme Court justice that could shape the judicial landscape for decades to come is most definitely a spoil.
Bush has the opportunity to do many things with this selection. He could break new ground by picking someone from a specific group not seen on the court. Or, he could pick someone who, because of a solid grounding in constitutional law, is deserving of the awesome honor and responsibility of being a Supreme Court justice.
To the majority of voters that put Bush in office, the choice is clear. They hope that Bushs vision is as clear-eyed and clear-minded as he sounded when, upon ascending the office of the presidency, he vowed to change the activist judiciary.
Let us hope that he seizes this opportunity to do just that.
About the Writer: Vincent Fiore is a freelance writer who resides in New York City. Vincent receives e-mail at .
Vince has nailed it!