Friday, July 01, 2005

Members responses to O'Connor's retirement

Erika: It is war! It's war on who we are as the right gets ready to attack us all. Roe v. Wade will be only the first item on the cutting block if people don't stand up to Bully Boy. Kim Gandy [president of NOW] had an announcement I think the community should know about:

This is a state of emergency for women's rights. Sandra Day O'Connor broke down barriers for women as the first female Supreme Court justice -- and George W. Bush will try to replace her with a hard-right extremist justice who will put those barriers up again.
O'Connor has been the Court's swing vote on key issues like abortion rights, job discrimination and affirmative action. She was the deciding vote to uphold women's reproductive rights in the Court's most recent decision on that issue, Stenberg v. Carhart, which was decided 5-4.
With the resignation of O'Connor, George W. Bush will have the opportunity to replace a justice who has often made the difference in the preservation of essential rights with an anti-woman justice who could influence the court's decisions for the next 40 years.
President Bush has identified as his most admired justices arch-conservatives Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, whose radical ideologies make their decisions disastrous for the advancement of women.
This is not the time to play favorites. It's the supreme moment to play fair. Every member of the Senate will have to choose sides - either they will side with the bullies in the Republican leadership or they will take the side of our fundamental freedoms.
NOW is prepared to lead the fight against any nominee who would turn back the clock on our civil, economic, and reproductive rights -- and our supporters will be
urging Senators to reject any nominee who is not committed to protecting those rights.
The character and record of anyone nominated to our nation's highest court must be thoroughly reviewed and considered by the Senate in their important "advice and consent" role. Any nominee must demonstrate the ability to separate his or her political ideology from the responsibility to fairly interpret the law - and uphold democracy's promise to protect the civil liberties of all people, not just the privileged few.
Bush will divide the country again if he makes this nomination process confrontational and controversial. After a close election, the country needs a justice with a sharp legal mind, strong personal ethics, and a commitment to upholding the rights and protections we take for granted in this country.
NOW is determined to make sure every person in this country understands what is at stake for our rights, our liberties, and our lives.

Lori: Thank you for steering to Christine with the first announcement. Ms. Musing was the resource and Christine the voice that most helped me through this dark, dark day.

Zach: Not only did Bill Scher [Liberal Oasis] have something to say worth hearing but it sent a message, to me anyway, by including him that this topic was open to all members who support choice. John Nicols has something online at The Nation that I'd note:

With O'Connor's exit, the court will move in one of two directions. No, not right or left. With O'Connor out, the court will either go backward or forward.
If President Bush nominates and the Senate confirms an activist soulmate for Scalia and Thomas, the court will not simply become more conservative.
It will move back toward the days before Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower used their nominations in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s to wrench the judicial branch out of a dark and undistinguished past. Those selections made the Supreme Court a functional branch of government, rather than an obstructionist defender of an often corrupt old order.
People for the American Way President Ralph Neas put it best when he said Friday, "A Scalia-Thomas majority would not only reverse more than seven decades of Supreme Court legal precedents, but could also return us to a situation America faced in the first third of the 20th Century, when progressive legislation, like child labor laws, was adopted by Congress and signed by the President, but repeatedly rejected on constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court."

[Note Ralph Neas will be a guest on CBS's Face the Nation this Sunday.]

Brenda e-mailed to say there are no words for what she's feeling right now and highlights Ralph Neas' statement:

The American people deserve a serious national conversation about the impact of future Supreme Court justices on their lives, liberties, and legal protections. We hope that conversation will lead President Bush toward collaborative consultation with senators from both parties, and to the selection of a consensus nominee or nominees whose commitment to protecting Americans rights and freedoms will earn genuine bipartisan support.
If instead the President chooses a controversial nominee that does not meet those standards, Americans deserve to know what the fireworks are all about.
Justice O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and became one of its most powerful and widely respected justices. She played a crucial pivotal role at the center of a Court divided on many fundamental constitutional questions. This week she was part of a narrow majority reaffirming the constitutional principle of government neutrality toward religion. She voted to uphold some state restrictions on women’s access to abortion but consistently upheld the fundamental constitutional right to privacy in cases on reproductive choice. She cast the deciding vote to allow state universities to use affirmative action programs that create educational opportunities for a diverse student body. She upheld the authority of Congress to regulate campaign contributions to candidates and political parties. She sided with her more conservative colleagues on some “federalism” cases, but was not willing to pursue the more aggressive states’ rights agenda pushed by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. O’Connor was part of the 1986 majority in Bowers v Hardwick upholding state sodomy laws; in 2003 she was part of a 6-3 majority in Lawrence v Texas, overturning a Texas sodomy law specifically targeting gays, though she did not join the five-justice majority to overturn Bowers.
The influential role played by O’Connor, and the fact that there are likely to be more vacancies on the Court over the next few years, mean that the impact of President Bush’s nominees could be extraordinarily far-reaching and long-lasting. If O’Connor is replaced by a justice in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas, as President Bush has suggested and right-wing leaders are demanding, the consequences would be disastrous for many of the legal and social justice victories achieved over recent decades. And if new justices cement a Court majority for a backward-looking 19th Century view of the Constitution, future legislation protecting individual rights or the common good could be struck down as unconstitutional.
Many Supreme Court decisions upholding important constitutional principles such as privacy or equality under the law have been decided with only one or two vote majorities, almost always with O’Connor as the crucial vote. New appointees who share the judicial philosophies of Scalia and Thomas could overturn numerous Supreme Court rulings that enjoy broad popular support, including cases affirming the right to privacy, allowing affirmative action in higher education, protecting the rights under state law of individuals who are members of HMOs, and upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to take action to reduce air pollution when a state fails to act. In fact, People For the American Way Foundation’s recently updated Courting Disaster report documents that a Court majority sharing the Scalia and Thomas judicial philosophies could overturn more than 100 Supreme Court precedents. (
This does not have to be – and should not be – a conversation only of, by and for lawyers. Questions that should be at the core of any confirmation process reach many Americans’ daily lives and personal concerns: Will the courts abandon their role in preserving Americans’ right to privacy and strip women of the constitutional right to make their own family planning and reproductive choices? Will Congress lose the power to protect Americans’ civil rights from abuses by state governments and others? Will state universities be prohibited from engaging in affirmative action to promote racial diversity? Will corporations gain excessive political and economic power? Will the Supreme Court further undermine the federal government’s ability to safeguard the air we breathe and the water we drink?
The following information, excerpted from People For the American Way Foundation’s Courting Disaster, provides a brief summary of the ways in which a Supreme Court dominated by justices who share the judicial philosophies of Scalia and Thomas would alter the Court, and the Constitution.With the Court so closely divided on important constitutional issues, even one or two new far-right justice would be very damaging. Three or four who share Scalia’s and Thomas’ extreme views would spell disaster. During the past half-century, the Supreme Court protected individual rights and liberties in many critical areas. A few examples demonstrate the scope of the Court’s impact:
it struck down many practices related to elections and the political process that denied minorities the right to full, equal participation in our democracy;
it held that the Constitution protects Americans’ privacy, that women have a fundamental right to a safe, legal abortion, and that governments cannot criminalize adults’ private consensual sexual behavior;
it struck down the pernicious de jure racial segregation in our nation’s public schools;
it protected government employees from being fired or demoted for their political party affiliation.

A Scalia-Thomas majority would not only reverse more than seven decades of Supreme Court legal precedents, but could also return us to a situation America faced in the first third of the 20th Century, when progressive legislation, like child labor laws, was adopted by Congress and signed by the President, but repeatedly rejected on constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court.
A shift of one or two votes would reverse Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of reproductive freedom and the right to privacy. But that would just be the beginning. Among those rights that could be drastically redefined if just one or two hard-right justices join the Court are:
Privacy Rights:
Reversal of Lawrence v. Texas (2003) would authorize criminal prosecution of private sexual conduct by consenting adults. And reversal of Ferguson v. Charleston (2001) would allow hospitals to test pregnant women without their knowledge or consent for suspected drug use and give the results to police.
Civil Rights and Discrimination:
Reversal of Jackson v. Birmingham Bd. of Educ. (2005) would allow retaliation against those who complain about illegal sex discrimination in education. Reversal of Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) would forbid affirmative action by state universities. Reversal of J.E.B. v. Alabama (1994) would allow sex discrimination in jury selection.
Reversal of Olmstead v. L.C. (1999) would mean that improper and unnecessary institutionalization of disabled persons would no longer be considered a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Church - State Separation:
Reversal of Lee v. Weisman (1992) and Santa Fe Independent School Dist. v. Doe (2000) would eliminate true government neutrality toward religion and authorize government-sponsored prayer at graduation and other public school events.
Workers’ Rights and Consumer Protection:
Reversal of Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois (1990) would allow government employees to be fired for belonging to the “wrong” political party. And reversal of Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran (2002) would invalidate important state laws protecting HMO patients’ rights in more than 40 states.
Environmental Protection:
Reversal of Alaska Department of Conservation v. EPA (2004) would strip the EPA of the authority to prevent damaging air pollution by industries when state agencies improperly fail to do so.
Campaign Finance Reform:
Reversal of the part of the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling that the far right opposes would invalidate limits on individual campaign contributions. And reversal of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003) would invalidate most of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, including its ban on political parties’ use of unlimited soft money contributions.

A Supreme Court with additional justices who do not meet consensus standards could radically rewrite our nation’s fundamental definitions of justice. This disturbing truth should figure prominently in any public debate over the courts and should give mainstream Americans of both parties reason to pause before accepting any nominee to the nation’s highest court who is not committed to upholding basic rights and legal protections that Americans cherish.
People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation have published more than 100 reports on judicial issues and nominees, including a number of potential Supreme Court nominees.
For a recent in-depth memo on the constitutional requirement, precedents, and public support for President Bush choosing a consensus nominee rather than a political confrontation, see
For PFAW Foundation’s 2005 Courting Disaster report,


Tori: Didn't you get the memo? It doesn't matter. That's what I'm seeing as I go around to some sites on the left that whine about how O'Connor's step down is sucking the air out of this story or that. There's movie reviews, there's whining on other topics, but God forbid we give attention to a "side issue." And God forbid they expect my web traffic again after treating me and my concerns as second class and unworthy. This news that Bully Boy will be replacing O'Connor truly frightens the hell out of me. I'm sure males in this community will get that and be frightened because it will effect more than the issue of choice. But there are sites that are now on my sh*t list because this isn't "news" to them. They'll be all over the next departure, wait and see. But since O'Connor's taking with her any hope of privacy rights (which includes the rights for gays and lesbians) this is a "side issue." Fine, then make mine a to go order and I'll take my traffic to sites that don't expect me to order from a window while all the males, and women who'll keep their mouths shut, are allowed to sit at any table. Dismissals of this topic as news tell me all I need to know about who is with me on this battle and who's holding the knife they're about ram in my back.

???: At Big Brass Blog, Pam's had some posts that really spoke me today. I won't pick out one because there are so many. She gets how scary this is and she's hollering at the top of her lungs.
Why are so many silent on this?

Note: This is Fourth of July weekend, a lot of people are probably not posting. If someone's posting, as Tori notes in her comments, and they're not addressing this, I guess we'll read this as they don't give a damn. As for whether or not it's news, Supreme Court Justice is a lifetime appointment. If they've ever blogged on the Court -- a decision, a comment made by a judge -- then I have no idea why they aren't blogging on this. But if they're not blogging or if their posts went up early, you're probably dealing more with the fact that it's a holiday weekend and people were out the door before the news hit. They may also have gotten pulled into a meeting on this topic. (As did I which is one reason this post has been delayed. My apologies. The other reason is due to the large number of e-mails on this.)

Lloyd: Good news of the day comes via Atrios:

CNN just flashed up poll results regarding Roe. 65% want a justice who would uphold Roe. 47% of Republicans want a justice who would uphold Roe (verus 46% who want one who would overturn it).

Billie: I'm noting a lot of silence on this or a lot of a half-assed b.s. of I'll devote a paragraph to this just to get those feminists off my back. And I'm not just talking about men who are doing half-assed jobs. I guess George Lakoff hasn't "framed" the issue for them yet. The mantra must be "What Would Lakoff say?" Which brings me to what spoke to me. Thank you for the Third Estate Sunday Review's piece. I want to note one section and then another article that came out this month because they're on the same wavelength:

Karla has a story, every woman that chooses to have an abortion does. As "moderates" in the Democratic Party launch yet another attack on women's rights, people need to remember that reproductive rights are a battle we already fought and won. These men (and it's usually men) in the Democratic Party who want to "back off" from this issue have never faced a decision like Karla or any woman had to make. It's a privacy issue and whether a woman has been raped or not, she doesn't owe it to anyone to explain her decision to a judge, a Congressman or anyone.It's her body, it's her choice and she should be allow to make it.
Instead of caving yet again, "moderates" should try to find enough of a spine to endorse a position that more than half of America supports. We're not sure whether they find it personally distasteful or if it's just another case of some poll showed them they might be able to persuade a few religious freaks to vote for them. It doesn't matter. The battle for reproductive rights was a long one and we won. And if moderates think they're going to take that right away or move away from supporting it, we can draw the battle lines all over again.
Reproductive rights are not "on the table." The party needs to realize that and find it's spine.

Billie (con't): The second thing was Katha Pollitt's "If the Frame Fits...:"

In the wake of the 2004 election, Democrats have embarked on an orgy of what the linguist George Lakoff calls "reframing"--repositioning their policies linguistically to give them mass moral appeal. Prime candidate for a values makeover? Abortion, of course. It's as if the party, with its longstanding, if lukewarm, support for reproductive rights, were a family photo with Uncle Lou the molester right in the middle. Maybe if we cropped it to put him way off to the side? Or Photoshopped a big shadow onto his face? Or just decided to pretend he was nice Uncle Max? In "The Foreign Language of Choice," posted on AlterNet, Lakoff writes that he doesn't like "choice"--too consumerist. In fact, he doesn't even like "abortion"--too negative. He wants to "reparse" abortion in four ways. Dems should talk about it as an aspect of personal freedom from government interference, and as the regrettable outcome of right-wing opposition to sex ed and contraception. They should reclaim "life" by talking about the fact that "the United States has the highest rate of infant mortality in the industrialized world," thanks to poverty and lack of healthcare, which are the fault of conservatives, "who have been killing babies--real babies...[who] have been born and who people want and love" and damaging their health through anti-environmental policies that put toxins in mother's milk. Finally, they should talk about the thousands of women each year who become pregnant from rape: "Should the federal government force a woman to bear the child of her rapist?"
George Lakoff is really smart and eager to help, so why does this way of talking about "medical operations to end a pregnancy" make me want to reparse myself to a desert island? Is it the sly reference to rape victims coerced by the "federal government," object of much red-state loathing, when surely he knows that the relevant policies--on giving out emergency contraception in ERs for example, or using Medicaid funds for abortions--are set at the state level, like most abortion laws? Is it the singling out of rape victims as uniquely deserving, which tacitly accepts the conservative "frame" of abortion as a way for sluts to evade the wages of sin? In fact, most American voters who favor abortion restrictions already make an exception for rape. The ones who don't--the 11 percent who would ban abortion completely--have already framed it to their satisfaction: Yes, the government should force rape victims to carry to term because the "child" should not be murdered for its father's crime.

I had no idea that Lakoff was involved in the "framing of abortion." It figures. Lakoff "is really smart" but the idea that he's going to speak to all is doubtful and members have raised this issue from the beginning which is why we've dealt with it (and the framing craze) from the beginning.
Racial and sexual minorities have not felt welcomed by the framing. Women have not felt welcomed by the framing. Straight talkers have not felt weclomed by the framing. The list is endless and it continues to be a topic each week in e-mails. So my hunch is Lakoff can speak to and for a certain white, straight, upper-middle class, standard to Norman Rockwell-ish childhood, male. The idea that any one person can speak for all of us is insane. The idea (and Rebecca's noted this as well) goes against marketing among other things. But Lakoff's become a flavor of the month for many months. It's really easy to whine about "the message" instead of dealing with the realities of a crumbling party infrastructure, a presidential campaign that ignored many issues, sell outs who make it hard for people to see a difference in either of the two major parites . . . Instead of dealing with reality, it's real easy to deal with "the message."

Framing wasn't discovered by Lakoff. (Nor was the notion that abortion is a privacy right -- again, Sarah Weddington argued that in Roe v. Wade.) It's always existed. And it's largely existed in the negative to play gatekeeper. "This isn't important!" "That isn't news!" Journalists have "framed" for years. In addition anyone offering an opinion or even writing a history book is framing by what they include and what they don't. The press refers to it as the "angle."

Lakoff's attempted to get the Democratic Party to think about how they speak and that's a good thing. But for all the hop on the framing bandwagon, we haven't seen it used effectively by our elected officials in anything that gives me hope. What we've seen is straight talk from a Barbara Boxer or a John Conyers be embraced by warmly (by grassroots Democrats as well as by third party members).

I haven't read Lakoff's writing (ever) and have no interest in doing so. It's Reinventing Government all over again where we're presented with two choices this or that and "this" will save us! He seems intelligent in interviews but he often misses the point and if he's prompted the "abortion is a 'side issue'" concept that so many have lept on, there's no reason community members have had no use for his advice from day one. Fifteen years from now, people will look back at this decade's hula hoop the same way they look back at Reinventing Government and wonder why they got so caught up in all the excitement. (My opinion.)

Jim: We've hit a record for number of e-mails in our account. I grabbed Ava's day to help her out so there wouldn't be many personal responses even if we hadn't topped over 500. But "for the record," I want something cleared up. C.I. participated in that story. I went through our first note to the readers and see it's not even noted there. Here's the story:
C.I. came to speak to a group I belong to. During the talk, I was thinking, "Sounds just like C.I."
After the talk, I made breezy conversation and then said, "You're C.I.!" The shocked look gave the answer. Dona, Ty and Jess and I had been thinking of doing a blog for some time. We were early members of the community and remain members. We had C.I. there and were just piling on the questions. Dona made the point that now was the time to quit talking and do the site because we could actually have input from C.I. that weekend. Which is what we did. Jess mentioned that Dona's roommate and fellow journalism major Ava should be brought on board.
Ava was very shy and we had no interest she'd be interested, but she was. So we all got together and turned out that first issue. Ava knew "Karla." I scared "Karla" off with big talk of how important her story was and how much it could help others. C.I. and Ava repaired that. (I've learned to hold back on the enthusiasm now that I know it can scare people off.) During the interview, we all participated and during the writing of the article we all participated. So "for the record," C.I. was a part of that article and a part of every article in that first edition. The TV review is the perfect example. We hated Joey (and still do). C.I. and Ava were making jokes about the show. We were eager to rip the show apart, Dona, Ty, Jess and myself, because it was so much nonsense. But that's where Ava and C.I. paired up as writing partners and started their feminist critiques of TV that we gladly offer each week. Back then, we'd nod along with some observation they made, usually funny, about the sexism of the a but that was the first thing we struck from the review. Why? We didn't realize what we had going. When later on, in another review, we struck a point of Ava's that was really important to her, C.I. argued for it to be put back in (it was) and that's when they really ran the TV reviews. The reaction from readers demonstrated something we hadn't grasped yet, Ava and C.I. know what they're doing and they're speaking with a unique voice. When we finally grasped the obvious, we bowed out to let them do what they do so well. This is "for the record" and I expect it all to be noted, C.I. I'll also add that we will be addressing the topic of abortion at The Third Estate Sunday Review. As usual, we've got ideas but nothing on paper. A lot of that comes from the fact that we're completely thrown by the news of today. We were prepared for Bully Boy to replace a right wing zealot. We had no idea he'd first get a crack at replacing a swing vote on the Court. These are scary times and they just got scarier. But to everyone writing in with so many complimentary things about our article, be sure to thank C.I. as well.

Wally: You think it ain't getting any worse then you hear today's news. I'll note that there's a petition at and that the idea of a right wing zealot turning us back to the Dark Ages just destroyed my weekend.

Brandon: Want another reason why Jude should be on Air America? I heard repeat after repeat today. Is this a "news network" or the Comedy Channel? They pulled this crap at Christmas today and the point was made then that they needed to bring on guest hosts and not march off on holiday. They blew today away when people needed more than Al Franken's lame jokes in repeats. When you posted the announcement, where did you get the information? From The Diane Rehm Show which was what? Live. Diane Rehm can still go in after all this time and do a show. Pampered souls of Air America apparently need Fridays (and additional days because it's been repeat city for most of the week) off to celebrate Monday's Fourth of July. They want listeners to make them the first stop and have impact and influence the debate. You don't do that by broadcasting dead air and that's what it is when you're running old repeats. Comedy Central was too generous so strike that, they're TV Land. Next time everyone puts in requests for holiday leave, Air America needs to line up guest hosts. They can start with Jude. Tonight's Majority Report could have been Bill Scher and Jude sitting in for Sam and Janeane. It would have been informative and it would have allowed the issues of the day to be addressed. I don't begrudge anyone time off. I do fault the network for thinking that when we've just learned Bully Boy just got a crack at a lifetime appointment, politically interested Americans are dying to hear repeats served up hour after hour. The message from the network seems to be "We're here to fight! Right after we get back from vacation!" "From the network."
People deserve time off. The audience, however, does not deserve nonstop repeats on a day when major news is breaking. Line up substitute hosts.

Susan: What is there to say about today's news except "Get ready for the fight of our lives!"?
I've gone from depressed to hopeful and back again. This has been one of the most stressful days of my life thus far this year. I couldn't even turn on the radio or put on some music. I just wanted to be surrounded by a calming, reassuring quiet.

Gina: Christine did post the poll story you excerpted, "The Polls Speak: Americans Support Abortion." Thank you for noting it before it was online because there will be talk of "Oh, we need to step away from abortion" all over again. If I can do a plug, Krista and I are working on a special edition round-robin with activism ideas and resources. So for members who get the round-robin, we hope to have that out Saturday afternoon at the latest. We've drafted Eli, Rebecca, Kat, Ruth, Keesha and Wally to help us with that. And we're all about to be on conference call. Rebecca had a great point this week about asking yourself what you could do and then doing it. However small you might think it is, do it. It will have some impact on others and it will free you to think of other actions you can take.

Ethan: A voice that really speaks to me is Ruth. And though she hasn't weighed in on this, I want to thank her because I've been off the last two days and just puttering around the house, painting the trim, mowing the yard and really laying back. (I haven't clicked on one link offered here in the last two days to show you how lazy I've been.) But her entry this morning made me think, "I really should listen to The Diane Rehm Show today." I took the portable radio out to the backyard this morning to listen while I was raking and when Diane Rehm said what the Associated Press was reporting, I couldn't believe it. I guess I was shocked because I kept raking and shaking my head. Then she brought it up again saying it was confirmed and I still couldn't believe it. I came inside and my wife asked if I was okay thinking I looked so out of it because of the heat. I told her it was bad news on the radio but wouldn't say what because I wanted to believe I'd heard it wrong. I'm at the computer and she's asking what was the news?
So I tell her. And am headed to yahoo. She says, "Go to C.I." and sure enough there was the announcement. We're pulling from the midday entry to make our own list of resources to hand out at our cookout. I guess we're doing what everyone is doing and just trying to make sure people get what is at stake. My wife said she felt like the start of The Pelican Brief when they hear the judge has died. We just can't believe it. But let Ruth know that I was listening to Diane Rehm because of her head ups and to keep on posting because her voice speaks to me.

Demetreka: Hands off my body! That's all I've got to say the Bully Boy and any bullsh*t nominee he wants to propose.

Julia: I've known Roe v. Wade hung by one vote for sometime. I've voted accordingly and donated accordingly. So it's not like the news this morning was completely unexpected. So why do I feel so ill prepared? I've never felt less safe in my own country.

Marci: I was at the sink washing glasses for the party this weekend and half listening to Diane [Rehm] while thinking about: who was coming, who would fail to show at the last minute, who would bring along guests without a heads up . . . What did Diane just say? I turned off the water and walked into the living room thinking either I heard it wrong or Diane got her judges mixed up and would quickly correct herself. I had heard it. Diane wasn't wrong. And at some point, I broke my coffee table. I don't even remember that. I just remember yelling at the top of my lungs. When I stopped yelling, besides being embarrassed, I saw the coffee table was broken.
I'm not a violent person. I am not proud of my reaction. But that was my reaction.

Paula: My reaction? Pack everything up and get the hell out before the American Taliban close the borders.

Rachel: Thank Martha for the suggestion of posting the review of Simpleton Simpson and Lackadaisical Lachey. I needed that laugh damn bad. I've been a zombie today. On the phone I've been all "uh-huh" and "okay" and had no idea what anyone was saying. Friday morning, I start out thinking, "I'm off Monday! I'm off Monday!" and a few hours later the whole world crashes. I didn't emerge from my stupor until I started laughing. Now I'm ready to fight.

Annie: As someone who spoke out and, with many, many other women, fought the original battle for control of our own bodies, I can't believe the day we all feared is now here. I'm mad at O'Connor for retiring. I'm mad at John Kerry for not making abortion a campaign issue. I'm pretty well mad at the whole damn world right now. We didn't not fight and win this battle so that some pampered, prep school punk could come along and tell us he owned our bodies.

Denise: My reaction has been tears. I'll just start crying and won't even know I'm crying until the tears hit my cheeks. I feel like I'm grieving.

Kimberly: With me, you guess right. I was listening to Diane Rehm because of Ruth's heads up. I was at work and just staring into space. I had to go to my boss and say "Can I please go on break early." The worst thing about today's news for me was having to stay at work when I wanted to be home rounding up friends to figure out what we could do, what we should do.
I'm one of the members who is checking the site from work and I do appreciate that efforts are made to keep it work-place safe. I didn't see a word that would lead to a write up in the Third Estate Sunday Review article but I agree with you on that, if there was one, people would just have to deal with it.

Joey: My reaction today was to read the announcement right after it must have went up because no one at work knew anything about it. And my second reaction was, "What kind of morons do I work with?" Eight people asked me, "Who is Sandra Day O'Connor?" Of the eight, four of them then said, "Does it really matter?" after I explained who she was. I'm the youngest one in my office, 21, and there are all these jokes made about it. Or put downs like, "Well when you have a family . . ." or "When you're my age . . ." I can put up with that crap, I need the pay check. But I never realized what uninformed morons I worked with until today and if that sounds mean feeling so alone at work today, surrounded by supposedly educated people, wasn't exactly "welcoming."

Cedric: There's a big religious wing-nut at my job. She always says things at the office parties like, "Easter's not really about candies or a bunny, you do know about Jesus, don't you?" And she'll tell this interracial couple that she's prarying for them because they've gone against "God's teachings." Or she'll hand slip a "Pray for Our President" handout on your desk when you've stepped out of the office. This is who broke the news to me. She comes into my cubicle smiling so happy and all excited. I thought maybe that guy she's been engaged to for the last seven years had finally proposed and was feeling kind of happy about that because she "only works" because she's not married. And she'll tell anyone at work that. And tell women who are married that she's praying for them. Then she opens her big mouth and breaks the news about O'Connor. "Jesus is smiling on us again!" she get chirping. Then she adds that O'Connor's sick and God's given her that "gift" (illness) because she didn't live up to his teachings. I just started yelling, "Get out! Get out! Get out!" It's Jurrassic Park time now as we get shoved back to the Stone Age. They'll go after Roe v. Wade first, then they'll go after affirmative action, then they'll go after the gay and lesbians, just the whole check list. And if you're black, you better not think that there's anyone who's going to rush to save you. This is war on the American people and they just declared it.

Jill: How do I feel? Enraged, betrayed, and abused. If Democrats in the Senate don't filibuster each and every anti-choice nominee Bully Boy trots out, they can consider me gone to the Green Party. I don't care if we end up with an eight justice Court.

Note: We have had an eight justice Court and people should be aware of that now. Currently O'Connor states that she'll continue to serve until Bully Boy gets his pick. If she changes her mind, and there may be pressure put on her to change, you know that the talking point will be:
"There are only eight justices! We can't have that! What happens if there's a tie!"

If there's a tie, the lower courts ruling stands. I'll pull out my Constitutional Law text books this weekend but it was either the tail end of the sixties or the early seventies when a confirmation was not being made and the Supreme Court was hearing rulings with only eight judges sitting on it.

Mike: Disgutsted. And I guess all the moves to the "center" on abortion by our cowardly elected officials will make it that much hard for us to wage the battle that needs to be waged. Also, call Mike of Mikey Likes It! "Mike." I can go by Michael. It'll be less confusing.

(Will do. Thank you, Michael.)

Karen: The Green Party doesn't have anything up yet on O'Connor's retiring but their web site is and member may want to bookmark it because if Dick Durbin's cave is any indication, the Democrats will let their supporters down yet again. Check out the Green Party.

Tammy: Christine was a good site to steer people to. Via Christine, here's what inspired me the most today, Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal:

With Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation, President Bush could reverse 32 years of freedom and progress for women. Women who have the most to lose will be the strongest voice in the debate over this Supreme Court fight. This time, for once, we will not be ignored. Let there be no mistake about it, the feminist movement today is declaring a state of emergency to save the court for women's rights.
Twenty four years ago, as president of the National Organization for Women I testified for Sandra Day O'Connor before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I knew then that O'Connor, although a conservative voice, would be one who would not permit the elimination of women's fundamental rights, including the right to privacy. Indeed the National Organization for Women played a pivotal role in the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor – she was nominated in 1981 at the height of the Equal Rights Amendment campaign.
One of the reasons she was nominated is that NOW stood outside the White House with thousands of people demanding that President Reagan nominate a woman, and a woman who would not turn her back on the women of the nation. Even a very conservative President heard our voices. And we must make our voices so loud today another ultra conservative President will hear our voices.
We had then, and we have now, the power of the gender gap to save women's lives ... and we intend to use it. We will begin from this conference by a march Saturday, July 2nd to the Tennessee legislative capital so that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) will hear our voices.

Now for what Shirley's dubbed the "American Idol" vote. In a recent post on something that members weighed in on, I noted that a number had just e-mailed they supported it or they were against it. Shirley, rightly, pointed out that this "American Idol" vote is a vote. So here are the results of the 753 e-mails (that's the total plus however many are quoted above) on this topic (numercial breakdown):

28 need more time to figure out what they think or to sort it through.

8 members noted that while this is important, they don't think it should be the sole focus of this site for the weekend. (They may or may not be disappointed.)

3 members didn't not want it discussed further. (One of which noted that it was because the entire thing was too depressing.)

714 were upset by O'Connor's retirement and want this topic on the front burner.

Note that there are e-mails that have come in since this post was started. But it's taken several hours just to pull from the e-mails to get the quotes above. So it's first out of the gate. I've been up 23 hours straight now. (I'll do the post on the Times as soon as this goes up.) (Time on the post, time stamp, is put in place when it's begun, not when it's finished.) If I didn't offer a link that I should have to something above, my apologies. I'm really exhausted and flying on caffeine from diet sodas. I'll be working with The Third Estate Sunday Review tomorrow so posts here may be hit and run and spotty. But we'll continue to focus on this topic.

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