Words Worth Heeding...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
berty -vs- Tyranny

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Wise words from a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Chicago Tribune - Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made a plea for preserving the impartiality and independence of the American judicial system in a lecture Thursday at Elmhurst College.

O’Connor, who addressed a crowded audience at Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel on the west suburban campus, delivered the Rudolf G. Schade lecture on history, ethics and law.

Although the U.S. judicial system is respected and emulated around the world, there are aspects of it that could be improved to better ensure impartiality and independence, she said.

O’Connor said she opposes the election of judges, and she believes the practice may create a misunderstanding of the role of a judge.

“I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes. In many states, that’s what they are,” she said.

People should expect a judge to rule on legal issues in a fair and unbiased way, but she said many people seem to think that judges are supposed to be a reflection of popular opinion, O’Connor said.

“They seem to think judges should be a reflex of the popular will,” she said.

Judges “need to turn a high-power lens on themselves” to avoid bias or the perception of bias as they consider legal issues and make decisions, she said...{Read More}

In today's politically charged and highly divisive climate the tendency towards overt judicial activism is ever present.

What say you?

Via: Memeorandum


  1. From the woman who appointed Chucklenuts Bush?

    A take any discourse about activist judges with a large grain of salt.

  2. Elect or appoint?
    The judge didn't tell us how judges should get their position. She only said not by election. We all know "appointments" are full of political slant. All who have the power to dictate should be elected by those who have to live under those dictates. If the people refuse to educate themselves and make informed decisions, that too is a reflection of the people.

  3. Well respected on both sides of the aisle, just like Lewis Powell before her, Mrs. O'Connor was a darn good justice, any specific ruling notwithstanding.

  4. Sorry, Ducky. Bush won in Florida. Don't bash O'Connor for refusing to overrule how the people voted. You are a child of God, Ducky, but it looks pretty silly when you out yourself as the leftist equivalent of a "birther".

  5. dmarks, if you want to be a good person, you should start with being honest. No one knows who won the Florida recount. It was never finished.

    As for electing judges, it is stupid, and our Founding Fathers understood that obvious reality.


  6. Jersey: the requested (and too late and redundant) recount that the USSC shot down was completed by journalists... and Gore still lost. No idea on "good", but I am honest on this.

    The idea that no one knows who won in Florida is as good as the idea that no one knows in which country Barack Obama was born. That is, not very good at all. Now back on topic now that Ducky's antidemocratic fireball has been extinguished...

    I tend to agree on the judges, Jersey.

  7. Face it the idea of an "impartial" judiciary is pure fantasy. ALL the appointment to the Supreme Court in the modern era have been politically motivated. SCOTUS is a de facto OLIGARCHY that rules this country with arrogant condescension.

    That Bush appointees with the single exception of Clarence Thomas, whose appointment certainly was political, have turned out to be vipers in the bosom of the body politic.

    SCOTUS can and often does override congress and it most certainly works contrary to The Will of the People virtually ALL the time.

    It does seem entirely wrong to me that DEMOCRATIC appointees are ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT ideological in the decisions they hand down, while REPUBLICAN appointees -- with the exceptions of Scalia and Thomas and sometimes Alito, -- seem forever determined to do everything possible to ACCOMMODATE the wishes of DEMOCRATS.

    Therefore, if conservatives ARE in power, it seems to me they have a positive DUTY to appoint RELIABLE conservatives to the bench, and not simpering closet liberals like that weirdo from New Hampshire, and like Chief Justice Roberts whose much vaunted "detachment," "objectivity," and "impartiality" have disgusted and depressed me beyond measure.

    I ever cared much for "Swingin' Sandy." Like it or not the high court IS political. The D'Rats MADE it that way, and "we," if there is such an entity, have never had the SPINE to fight them tooth and nail to protect our liberty.

    Liberty should trump "Justice" ALL the time.

    Rule by Judges is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Whatever happened to "Separation of Powers?"

    It has ceased to exist thanks to LEFTIST JUDICIAL ACTIVISM.

    1. The entire federal court system is political. Judicial Impartiality has become the exception more so than the rule. There are however judges that remain above the fray of partisan politics.

      I agree the splendid reasoning behind the Supreme Court (it was brilliant IMNHO) has long since been vacated Free Thinke. However, if we were to ever change the system so a Justice candidate runs for the post on a partisan political party platform (agenda) the result would undoubtedly be precisely the result we see in Congress and the Senate.

      Perhaps at this stage of our fractured country and uber partisan politics it really doesn't matter any longer. Which is to say we are screwed either way.

      But I'll still stand behind the original founding reasoning as being preferable to the popular votes for the SCOTUS. A popularly elected Supreme court could very well be a Trojan Horse o steroids.

  8. This is a very ironic statement coming from an individual who served on the most political of courts in the land with very little to no "impartiality". Ducky is 100 percent correct. O'Connor was among those who voted to anoint bush. However we DO know that Gore won Flordia hands down, and thus the presidency. But Dennis (AKA dmarks) will never admit it, because *censored personal attack RN won't approve of*. Instead Dennis will continue to make foolish and arrogant judgments regarding the will of the FL voters who chose Gore in greater numbers than bush. The SCOTUS judges aren't "politicians in robes", they are kings in robes. Kings because they believe they can anoint presidents, create law out of whole cloth (money is not speech) and strike down laws passed by our legislature.

  9. "However, if we were to ever change the system so a Justice candidate runs for the post on a partisan political party platform (agenda) the result would undoubtedly be precisely the result we see in Congress and the Senate."

    It already is, and has been for a long time. Scalia is the biggest political hack on the Supreme Court since the Warren court. Political appointees.

  10. Thank you for annointing me Dennis. I am sure there is an insult intended, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it is.

    The link you provided did not show Gore actually winning according to how people voted. Instead, it relied on a scheme to imagineer voteless ballots (so-called undervotes and overvotes) into Gore votes.

    The editorial linked to provides this ludicrous line: "Counting overvotes in which the intent of the voter was clear would have resulted in Gore winning the recount."

    Overlooked is the fact that the intent of the voter is best determined by how the actually voted. Botched and otherwise voteless ballots are blank paper in this regard.

  11. Bush won in Florida?

    How the hell do you know without the recount?

  12. FT, you moving to overturn Marbury vs.Madison?

  13. Ducky:

    "George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida's disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes — more than triple his official 537-vote margin — if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA TODAY/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows. The study is the first comprehensive review of the 61,195 "undervote" ballots that were at the center of Florida's disputed presidential election."

    USA Today

    The first count, the machine count, was actually the most accurate as far as ballot interpretation goes. And this was before the vote counters (vote makers?) were punching out chads right and left.

  14. Dennis: The editorial linked to provides no ludicrous lines. FL had "intent of voter" laws on the books, which Dennis wants to ignore because doing so supports his solidly partisan agenda of validating the SCOTUS decision anointing bush. The papers you cite found that bush won because "there was massive pressure to retroactively justify the processes that led to his victory, in the general spirit of restoring confidence in the system". Especially in light of the events of 9/11. THAT is why they whitewashed the truth and declared bush would have won anyway (even though he would not have).

    Ducky: Gore won in FL and Marbury vs Madison was wrongly decided. The SCOTOS simply gave itself powers not granted to it by the Constitution.

    Also, I am strongly in disagreement with FreeThinke who says, "Democratic appointees are 100 percent ideological in the decisions they hand down". It is actually the other way around. The Republican appointees are virtually 100 percent ideological in the decisions they had down. Roberts did decide the case concerning the Affordable Care Act correctly. Although I heard he did so because he was mindful of the reputation the court has of being 100 percent ideological, and wanted to do something to curb that (correct) perception.

  15. Dervish: The best indicator of voter intent is how they actually voted. There was no USSC decision annointing Bush, so even I had a partisan agenda (which I do not on such matters), there is no point in my connecting it to something that never happened.

    "WHAT is why they whitewashed the truth" Ah yes, a paranoid conspiracy theory. Tinfoil hats worn in the crawlspace.

    "Gore won in FL". Perfect example of one of your famous whoppers. Your guy lost and you say he won. Another example of how you hate democracy when it doesn't go your way. Your recent rant against the majorirypeople of Kentucky for voting their interest is another example.

    "Roberts did decide the case concerning the Affordable Care Act correctly"

    Typical. WD the armchair attorney only agrees with higher legal authorities when their informed decisions happen to coincidence with his uninformed gut-level knee-jerk personal opinions. This is also why he happens to disagree with the SCOTUS decision to let the vote of the people of Florida stand: when his betters happen to make informed decision that goes against his personal supersititions, he goes nuts and makes up things, such as "annointing".

    "Marbury vs Madison was wrongly decided"

    Another perfect case of WD's ignorance and arrogance. The armchair attorney who knows little about the situation and little about the facts thinks he knows more about a matter than the actual authorities. So, who do we got with, the real Constitutional authorities, or an armchair attorney who is so ignorant of the Constitution that he argues that First Amendment freedoms only belong to members of a narrowly-defind government-approved press?

    Back on topic and away from WD's sore-loser imagineering and deep hatred of democracy and the rule of law: good post, RN. Sandra Day O'Connor's words are worth following.

  16. There was a SCOTUS decision to disregard the voter intent laws on the books and disenfranchise voters for making minor mistakes, or worse yet, errors by the fricking machines! Yet Dennis believes people should have their vote thrown out because the machine they used to cast their ballot screwed it up! Dennis has no problem disenfranchising these people who were legally entitled to a vote -- because doing so handed victory to his guy. And he laughably suggests he has no partisan agenda. What this shows is how much Dennis hates democracy. FYI, the facts speak for themselves, no tinfoil hat is needed to see that the 2000 election was stolen by the Cons on the Supreme Court. Sandy Day is right (although way too late) in suggesting perhaps they shouldn't have taken the case.

    I have the right to express my opinion regarding the people who voted for Randal to go to the Senate. They are fools. You make up baloney about "arrogance" because you don't like my opinion, but I don't care what you think. Also, what's this concerning my "betters"? You use this word to refer to people who agree with you but disagree with me and you think this does not show how arrogant you are?

    Regarding Marbury v Madison, you have absolutely no clue what I know on this matter, and it is of course quite arrogant of you to presume that you do. Just like this made up BS about me living in a crawlspace. This is something you'd have no way of knowing, yet Dennis pretends it is a fact. Is Dennis so nutty that he thinks he has ESP or something?

    More arrogance is Dennis' insistence that I've said only "government approved" press organizations should have free speech rights... when I never said any such thing.

  17. I hope so. None of what he said is true. Starting from "Yet Dennis believes people should have their vote thrown out..." .... a flat-out lie, and then followed by nothing but flat out lies.

    And no I am not arrogant to say that Supreme Court justices know much more about "Marbury v Madison" than an armchair attorney with a proven track record of opposing/despising/intentionally misunderstanding our Constitution. No, I am not arrogant at all. Only one of us here has delusions of grandeur.

    "no tinfoil hat is needed to see that the 2000 election was stolen by the Cons on the Supreme Court."

    And yes, proof of DS's hatred of democracy. The "cons" won the election by getting more votes. In DS's mind, this is theft, because it is only democracy (to him) if left-wingers win. This explains his "so stupid I'm surprised he can even spell Kentucky" ignorant statements about Kentucky's voters. Voters who dared to make an informed choice and overwhelmingly chose Rand Paul. Something that really frosts DS. He can't stand it when voters vote for their own interests instead of what an arrogant outsider (him) wrongly perceives them to be.

    Time to sit down and go back to the class, DS, and do some studying. The idea that Gore won the election is as much history as the idea that Dewey defeated Truman. No matter how much you lie and claim that your imaginary idea of "voter intent" is more important than how someone actually voted. Such is your hatred for democracy.


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