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Old 07-06-2005, 10:08 AM   #151
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yes, abdicate and leave the choices up to the individual.
Which you don't want when dealing with moral decisions that affect society.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:06 AM   #152
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Pick A Woman

By Tony Mauro Wed Jul 6

Sandra Day O'Connor will always be remembered for the remarkable distinction of being the first woman on the Supreme Court. But here is something else remarkable about her distinction: She had to wait a dozen years before a second woman joined her on the court.

"It was a happy day indeed" when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed in 1993, O'Connor wrote in her 2003 book The Majesty of the Law. Their politics might have been different, but it was a relief, O'Connor said, to no longer shoulder the mantle of being the only woman on the highest court.

Now that O'Connor is retiring, Ginsburg should not have to wait a dozen years to be joined by another woman. She should not have to wait for a moment, in fact. It seems almost too obvious to say, but it apparently needs to be stated: President Bush ought to appoint a woman to succeed O'Connor.

Wrong message

In this day and age, it simply will not do for our nation's highest court to include only one woman out of nine. If Canada can have four women on its nine-member Supreme Court, then we can do better than one. Replacing O'Connor with a man would telegraph to the world, accurately or not, that in replacing a groundbreaking woman, we could only come up with a man.

Of course, it will be said - it is already being said - that naming someone to the Supreme Court is a matter of finding the most qualified person, not a question of gender politics or head-counting. That is true. But this is also certainly true: It simply cannot be the case that there is no woman available who is as qualified as any of the men whose names have been bandied about as possible replacements for O'Connor. It's just not possible.

When O'Connor was appointed in 1981, the legal profession's long history of sexism meant that the pool of qualified women was not huge - though I recall that there were quite a few women who seemed to be more logical choices than a mid-level appeals judge from Arizona (namely O'Connor.) But now, no such excuse is available. Thanks in part to O'Connor's trailblazing, an entire generation of women lawyers has matured and advanced into the upper echelons of the profession.

In addition to the two Ediths that seem to be toward the bottom of Bush's short list - Edith Jones and Edith Brown Clement, both judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit - smart people are also talking up these possibilities: Priscilla Owen of Austin, also on the 5th Circuit; Deanell Tacha, the able chief judge of the 10th Circuit; Alice Batchelder on the 6th Circuit; and Karen Williams on the 4th Circuit. And then there is Consuelo Callahan, a judge on the 9th Circuit who is both female and Hispanic, appointed by Bush two years ago. Many of the rest are appointees of the first President Bush.

Look at state level

State supreme courts, too, are full of able women, among them two state chief justices - Shirley Abrahamson of Wisconsin and Judith Kaye of New York - who are distinguished jurists.

Some of the judges mentioned may be viewed as too liberal, or too old for a Bush administration looking for longevity. The point is, there are dozens of qualified women.

For a court that honors precedent, there is ample precedent for replacing O'Connor with a woman. Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American on the court, was replaced by Clarence Thomas, its second. There has been, informally, more or less of a "Jewish seat" on the court as well, interrupted by the late Harry Blackmun but resumed when Stephen Breyer was appointed in 1994. Ginsburg is also Jewish, and when Breyer joined her on the court, there was immediate strength in numbers. Soon after, the court for the first time decided not to hold hearings on Jewish holy days.

Similarly, when Ginsburg joined O'Connor on the court, they conspired to make a small but symbolic change. For some unknown reason, the public ladies' room at the court had always opened later in the day than the men's room, inconveniencing women who got to the court early to stand in line to watch high-profile cases. With the power of two, O'Connor and Ginsburg fixed that inequity, and in 1996 Ginsburg proclaimed triumphantly, "The women's restroom, I have good reason to believe, will never again close while the men's room remains open."

A small victory, but symbolic of how important it is to get beyond the tokenism of one. Just two years ago, the Supreme Court spoke of this tokenism in the context of race when it said the University of Michigan Law School was justified in seeking a "critical mass" of qualified minority students so that they "do not feel isolated or like spokespersons for their race."

O'Connor was the author of that opinion, and she has known for too long the burden of being expected to speak for her gender. One way to honor her legacy would be to make sure that as soon as possible - starting with her successor - women will have more than one voice on the Supreme Court.

Tony Mauro is the U.S. Supreme Court correspondent for American Lawyer Mediaand Legal Times. He also is a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:10 AM   #153
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Unfortunately, I think we send the wrong message when individual seats are designated by sex/race etc.

But it will send our conventional politics into a tizzy when a pro-life women is nominated.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:14 AM   #154
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Personally I don't believe Bush when he says he has no lithmus test, but if he proves me wrong then at least he's putting his personal opinions aside and is doing what's best for the country. I don't think anyone is getting stabbed in the back.
And you see, it is my belief that he'd be doing what's best for the country by oushing through a prolifer.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:16 AM   #155
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Which you don't want when dealing with moral decisions that affect society.


how does a woman's choice to terminate her pregnancy affect society?


and what qualifies society to make moral decisions for the individual?
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:17 AM   #156
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here's my solution: stop voting Republican!
Believe me, I'm so sick of most of `em, Bush nominating a prochoicer just might be the thing that pushes me over the edge. But even if I do stop voting Republican, I won't be voting Democrat.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:19 AM   #157
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Well, now we get back to the "is it murder of another person". If we decide to deem a certain class of persons "non-persons", then things like terminating their life is a little easier to do.

If we all get to set our moral compasses, irrespective of anyone else, I bet we end up with something we don't want.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:19 AM   #158
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Believe me, I'm so sick of most of `em, Bush nominating a prochoicer just might be the thing that pushes me over the edge. But even if I do stop voting Republican, I won't be voting Democrat.


why wouldn't you vote Democrat?

other than the party being pro-choice, which i know you might find a deal breaker, what is it about Democrats that make them inferior to Republicans?
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:20 AM   #159
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And you see, it is my belief that he'd be doing what's best for the country by oushing through a prolifer.
My point is that if he chooses someone based purely on pro-life and the rest of their stances are completely crazy, what good is he doing for this country? None. But if he chooses someone based on all merit and pro-life happens to not fall into this person's issues then he's doing what's best for this country, even if he has to make that sacrifice.

But this is really moot for I don't see Bush doing this.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:21 AM   #160
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Well, now we get back to the "is it murder of another person". If we decide to deem a certain class of persons "non-persons", then things like terminating their life is a little easier to do.

If we all get to set our moral compasses, irrespective of anyone else, I bet we end up with something we don't want.


so if we can't determine if it is the murder of a person, or non-person, why not leave that decision up to the individual?

and most of us already do set our own moral compasses. they are just mediated by societal consequences for our actions.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:23 AM   #161
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Well, now we get back to the "is it murder of another person". If we decide to deem a certain class of persons "non-persons", then things like terminating their life is a little easier to do.

If we all get to set our moral compasses, irrespective of anyone else, I bet we end up with something we don't want.
Well acutally it's not as easy as "setting our own moral compasses" for we do have science to show us it can't be murder.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:33 AM   #162
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science to show us it can't be murder
That is quite a trick!
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:44 AM   #163
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That is quite a trick!
Well how can you "murder" something that wouldn't be able survive or live on it's own, for it's only 6 weeks of dividing cells?
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:47 AM   #164
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eeeek! we've done so well discussiong the political impact of the abortion debate, can we please please please not get into the "is it murder or isn't it" part?

we've done it before, and we all know where the chips will fall.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:55 AM   #165
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why wouldn't you vote Democrat?

other than the party being pro-choice, which i know you might find a deal breaker, what is it about Democrats that make them inferior to Republicans?
There are other Democrat-supported issues I don't agree with, but you're right, abortion is the big deal breaker for me. I've said it before and I will say it again; I will never cast a vote for a prochoice candidate.
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