February 3, 2006

"I'm sure she's probably happier with a low-key send-off. She was never in it for the glory."

Said Sandra Day O'Connor's brother Alan Day.
There was no ballyhoo this week when Sandra Day O'Connor ended her nearly 25-year court career.

She attended a private oath ceremony at the court for her successor, Samuel Alito. Several of the justices were out of town and unable to watch as Alito pledged to "administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich."

O'Connor made a point to be there, however, with her husband, then departed to Arizona with little notice. She declined to make a statement to reporters.
Yes, it was awfully low key, wasn't it? Where were all the tributes? Can we even remember the last time a Justice stepped down and how much fuss was made? When Rehnquist died, it wasn't the same. Those were obituaries. I think the reason we didn't hear much about Sandra Day O'Connor this week is that we already said all the appropriate things last summer when she announced her intention to retire. Still, I think more should have been made of saying goodbye to her, and now I feel a little bad that we just let her slip away like that.


Ruth Anne Adams said...

Reminds me of Harry S Truman's departure....

[From a toast on M*A*S*H]:
To Harry Truman!
To Bess Truman!
To err is Truman!

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gaius Arbo said...

That's likely the entire thing in a nutshell. She just wanted to go home. No parties, no parades, no cheesy grip and grin moments. Just go home, quietly and with no big fuss.

She did a lot of years of making tough calls, she deserves our thanks.

vnjagvet said...

And as with people who make tough calls in legal decisions, at least one side is very unhappy with every one of those decisions.

I am sure that she will be glad to get away from that.

Mark Daniels said...

Though it may seem paltry, the President did mention O'Connor's last day as a justice during the State of the Union message.

Interestingly though, that was also the last day of Alan Greenspan's tenure as Chair of the Fed and Mr. Bush didn't utter a word about his departure after eighteen years. When you think about it, this is a strange omission in light of the President's reference to O'Connor. In the end, the members of his most ardent base are likely to hold a higher opinion of Greenspan than of O'Connor.

Mark Daniels

Slac said...

"without respect to persons"

I thought the whole point of justice is to respect persons?

(Or I could've made that up.) :)

Robert said...

She is going to be teaching classes (at least one or two) here at the University of Arizona Law School. Within just a few hours of that announcement, nearly 300 people had signed up for her class on how the Supreme Court works. She may be going low key, but she isn't going away.

Ronald Reagan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ronald Reagan said...

Diarrhea, diarrhea,
Some people think its funny
But its really black and runny.
Diarrhea, diarrhea.

Crank said...

Yeah, I'd say an explicit thank you in a prime-time speech by the president on national television makes up for a lot.