Go to South Dakota, Madam Justice
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has become a leading voice in the fight to maintain judicial independence in the face of concerted conservative efforts to undermine the authority and power of federal and state judges. And this weekend, that voice sounded in Virginia, where Madam Justice once again warned us that we scorn our judges at our own peril. But the big election-year battle over judges is not back East. It is out West, in South Dakota, where anti-judge zealots are pushing a ballot initiative that would make judges liable for unpopular decisions-- their salary and pensions could be reduced by citizen "grand juries." I just wrote a column about this which you can read here.
O'Connor's remarks this weekend got some play in South Dakota and if opponents of that state's initiative were daring and desparate enough they would figure out a way to get the former Justice to South Dakota between now and election day to speak her mind in person, about how stupid the new law would be. Think of the free local publicity her visit would bring to the anti-attack cause. Think about how many South Dakotans would pay attention to one of the most popular and beloved Supreme Court Justices in modern memory. The South Dakota initiative is a dangerous thing. And it may pass without some outside intervention. It's time to get someone on the phone to O'Connor; time to start checking flights; time to start lining up the hall.
By Andrew Cohen |
October 9, 2006; 8:40 AM ET
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