The O'Connor Court.
The phrase has been used so many times over so many years to describe the Supreme Court that it is nearly a cliché. Yet the simple words capture an equally simple truth: to find out where the court is on almost any given issue, look for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
If you are a lawyer with a case at the court, pitch your arguments to her. If your issue is affirmative action, or religion, or federalism, or redistricting, or abortion, or constitutional due process in any of its many manifestations, you can assume that the fate of that issue is in her hands. Don't bother with doctrinaire assertions and bright-line rules. Be meticulously prepared on the facts, and be ready to show how the law relates to those facts and how, together, they make sense.
And it is because Justice O'Connor has played such a pivotal role on the court for much of her 24-year tenure that her unexpected retirement is such a galvanizing event. Much more than the widely anticipated retirement of the predictably conservative Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, her departure creates an opportunity for President Bush to shape the court.
The above is from Linda Greenhouse's "O'Connor Held Balance of Power" in this morning's New York Times. It's our spotlight as the article in the paper this morning most worth noting. If you're someone who goes to the links and you haven't already read it, go to the article. If you're a member who never clicks on the links (and that's not a problem) just note the above and hopefully it gives you an idea of where the analysis was headed.
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