Archive for ‘O’Connor’

March 30, 2013

A Conversation with the Women Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court

by Angela N. Johnson

I recently stumbled across a video of an insightful discussion among all four women who have served/are serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan reminisce about the time they first heard the news of Justice O’Connor’s appointment and they each share stories and thoughts about their careers. It is entertaining and well worth your time.



The video can be viewed by clicking the photo above or this link: Conversation with Women U.S. Supreme Court Justices

April 22, 2011

A Special Interview with Justices O’Connor and Ginsburg

by Angela N. Johnson

The 2010 Women’s Conference featured an interview with trailblazers Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Diane Sawyer asked the Justices a variety of questions and portions of the event were televised on ABC, which can be viewed as follows:

5-Minute Clip of Justices O’Connor and Ginsburg speaking about law school, as U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and Gendered-Judging.

11-Minute Clip of Justices O’Connor and Ginsburg, including a recorded message from Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.

These clips give wonderful insight into the view of the court from the lenses of these lady way-pavers. Law school, work experiences, and gendered judging are discussed as well as a special thank you from Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.

April 15, 2011

Difference in Judicial Discourse; Value in Exploring Role of Law Clerks

by Angela N. Johnson

Maveety’s article reviews the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearings and the infamous “wise Latina” exchanges that prompted concern over the possibility that judges render decisions based on their gender or world view (Maveety 2010, 453).  Moreover, this article examines differing sentiments on whether women judges view cases differently.  For example, Justice O’Connor has often said “a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases” Id. at 453.  The problem, as noted by Maveety, is that there is no universal definition of “wise” and that by nature, a judges’ decision-making will necessarily be influenced by past experiences.  When Justice Sotomayor later recounted her “wise Latina” statement, she explained that “by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society” Id. at 454. Justice O’Connor also changed her previous “same conclusion” statement by admitting it is “helpful to the Court to have nine members of different backgrounds and experiences and, yes, even gender.  We bring different life experiences to the task, and that’s a good thing” Id. at 455-456.  Moreover, upon her retirement, Justice O’Connor expressed disappointed that her replacement was not a female, which left Justice Ginsburg the lone woman on the bench.  While Maveety does not address the Justice O’Connor’s apparent change of heart, I have to wonder about the context of these statements.  Perhaps the previous statement made by Justice O’Connor was made during the years when it was best to defend women’s inclusion on the bench by refuting any differences in the token-number appointments.  If this is so, then it would follow that in more recent years Justice O’Connor can now embrace the benefits that women bring to the bench without facing ridicule or setting-back women’s progress.

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