Posts Tagged ‘Law’

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

March 6, 2013

Sandra Day O’Connor, former Justice of the US Supreme Court, told Terry Gross that her first job as a lawyer was taken without pay. Furthermore, Mrs. O’Connor had to occupy a desk in the secretary’s office of that law firm, because she was a woman at the time. Still is, and a woman like no other.

Justice O’Connor, with admirable pioneering chutzpah, had blazed a trail, way back in the1960s and ’50s, for women in the legal profession, as well as  for all working women generally. She was the first female US Supreme Court Justice. Three more women have been set on the Court since her unprecedented appointment by President Reagan.

But for the cowgirl lawyer from Arizona, the chauvinist humiliation she had to endure along her career path was just an obstacle to be overcome; it came with that frontier territory. Hearing her accounts, it almost seems to have been no big deal. Her primary objective seems to have been, all along, justice for the people of the United States, and not necessarily blowing some loud feminist horn.

She is a great leader in our nation. Nevertheless, she is a humble woman–a wife and mother who happens to be an attorney. One key element of her personality–I think you will hear it in the interview–is humility. Humility can carry a person a long way in this life. Justice O’Connor, like Rosa Parks, had to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous sexist prejudice. But she remained constantly humble, and determined. She would not be denied her destiny. Humility enables a talented person to endure untold subtle and blatant persecutions, because passionate vision can trump all that difficulty. Sandra Day O’Connor’s life is, in my view, a testimony to that principle.

Listening, via radio, to the testy interaction between Terry’s edgy, progressive politicism and Sandra’s prickly, accumulated wisdom is fascinating; it is an aural telescope into the generation gap of the edges, as well as the no-woman’s-land between push-the-envelope liberalism and bootstraps conservatism.

I have admired both women for a long time, although for very different reasons. This interview was an amicable match between two titans of public disccourse. Check it out:

http://www.npr.org/2013/03/05/172982275/out-of-order-at-the-court-oconnor-on-being-the-first-female-justice

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

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On the limitations of humannness

April 23, 2011

Law built his kingdom upon a foundation of strength,
hefting beams of order upon discipline length
while
Progress made her society of perfectible members
teaching reason and freedom among liberty timbers.
Then
Love set up a clinic of hope and of healing
upon sacrifice and sweat and their warmfuzzy feeling
till
Truth tore it down, and sent all of them reeling
‘neath a sky that is falling and a chicken in every debt ceiling.

Cluck cluck Selah
whadya think about that
Thanks for the doughnut hole, so long.

Glass half-Full

Breyer: Our rule of law is “a treasure.”

October 8, 2010

“It’s too bad there wasn’t violence,” said the commenter to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
The man had been upset about the outcome of the Bush v. Gore case that  decided the presidential election in 2000. You may remember that many Americans were enraged about that decision; some are still mad about it.

“You really think that?” queried Breyer to the discontent soul. “Turn on the television set. Go look and see what happens where there is violence…”
Justice Breyer considers it a treasure that we Americans have decided “to resolve (our) differences under law, and not through violence in the streets.
I heard him saying this as he spoke with Diane Rehm on her radio show yesterday, October 7.

Words of wisdom from a 16-year veteran of our nation’s highest court.

I’m hoping that in the volatile days ahead, we can maintain our trust in that rule of Law, as it is manifested in our Constitution, be it a “living” document or  one of “original intent.

If you’d like to know more of what Stephen  Justice has to say about our rich heritage as a nation with the benefit of a great Constitution, read his new book, Making of a Democracy: a Judge’s View.