Thank You, Sandra D.
Sorry to hear about the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. She embodied a historical landmark and assumed the pressure of the job with poise, credibility, and strength. Nominated by a surprising source (Ronald Reagan offering a "first" for women?), O'Connor became a mediating voice on a court of extremes.
Her entire legal career was an uphill battle to prove that women DID belong at the bar and her high court appointment offered even more opportunities for female jurists across the country. She should also be commended for having the wisdom to step down in time to enjoy a healthy retirement. In the past, justices have struggled on for far too many terms despite ill health, pressured to protect political agendas (Thurgood Marshall, William Rehnquist, William O. Douglas).
O'Connor's absence creates anxiety for both parties, but her skill at legal analysis contrasts past appointments when Supreme Court Justice positions were doled out to Presidential cronies, no legal experience required. And no matter how careful each side is in vetting potential justices, even the best laid plans go stray: Eisenhower never forgave himself for Earl Warren and Justice Kennedy is giving the Righties fits with his moderate decisions. Hell, even Tom DeLay is apoplectic about the recent decision on property rights, saying the court has clearly "gone too far."
Bottom line: no matter who sits on the bench, ain't none of us ever gonna be happy with every decision the Supreme Court makes. Not only did Sandra D. survive in that political crucible, she thrived for nearly a quarter of a century. Good job, sister!