Sandra Day O'Connor's Resignation
Posed by Javier Méndez.
El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile
Q. Regarding the resignation of Sandra Day O'Connor, what are your
comments on the political battle over the appointment of her successor?
In particular, will Bush try to appoint a more conservative member and
will the focus be on the death penalty and abortion?.
A. We are very sad to hear of Justice O'Connor's resignation. She has
been the most articulate and reasoned supporter of both religious
freedom and individual rights on the current Court.
We deplore the perversion of the word "conservative" in recent times.
It is Justice O'Connor who upheld the principles of conservatism in her
decisions against the abuse of eminent domain in the New London case
and against the state governments' violations of religious freedom in
the Smith and Boerne cases. She has been the true conservative on the
Supreme Court and our greatest fear is that her voice of conservatism
will be replaced by a voice for "neo" (or sham) conservatism, that is
"big government" or "imperial" conservatism.
No doubt the debate over Justice O'Connor's replacement will focus on
the death penalty and abortion; it is our sincere prayer that
commentators and Congress would instead focus on more basic issues,
such as a prospective nominee's position on whether or not the U.S.
Constitution is, as one Republican leader is quoted to have said,
"obsolete," or whether such provisions as the one prohibiting use of
eminent domain gain or the one requiring that only Congress may declare
war still stand, the guarantee of all persons (not just citizens) to
due process of law, and whether freedom of religion is or is not a
fundamental human right.
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