Posted by Sari
Sandra Day O’Connor has resigned from the US supreme court. Which means that Bush will get to nominate at least two Supreme Court Justices as Rehnquist is ill with cancer. The latter nomination would/will be a no-brainer as Bush will replace one conservative republican with another, but O’Connor’s case is different.
She is a Reagan’s nominee, a moderate Republican and the first woman to be appointed to the SCOTUS. She was the swing vote on many issues and has thus been in the majority probably more often than any of the other justices. She tended to frame her decisions taking into account the individual circumstances of the cases and stare decisis, the idea that the court should follow precedents and thus not overturn its previous decisions. Most famously, she was the co-author (but significantly not the swing vote, that was Kennedy) of majority decision in Casey, the case that came very close to overturning Roe and giving states the right to legislate on abortion. Replacing her will feed the flames cultural wars to the limit. TPM Cafe has many good posts on the subject.
Edited for typos, I sure make them... and to add: