LCCR on O’Connor Resignation

Media 07.1.05

Washington – Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition and the Co-chair of the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, an alliance of the country’s leading national public interest organizations, issued the following statement in response to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s resignation:

“The resignation of Justice O’Connor comes at an historic moment. At a time when our country is deeply divided, we must recognize the important role of the Supreme Court in protecting the rights and liberties of all Americans. Justice O’Connor has been a moderating voice on the Court. She has led the court on important decisions including the Grutter decision on affirmative action. As a force for moderation on a deeply divided court, her leadership will be missed. We wish her well in retirement and thank her for her public service.

The moderating leadership of O’Connor must not be replaced with a far-right extremist who would threaten 50 years of progress on the rights of minorities, the rights of women, the rights of people with disabilities, and individual freedoms. The right wing wants the President to nominate someone who will take this nation back to the 19th century. The country is best served by a judicial philosophy of moderation, not one of extremism on the nation’s highest court.

The resignation of Justice O’Connor presents President Bush with two choices – continue the politics of confrontation and division or pursue consultation and consensus. It offers the President an opportunity to be a ‘uniter not a divider.’

A lifetime Supreme Court appointment is an extraordinary event. We hope the President will choose wisely and in the interests of the American people. The President must work with both parties in Congress to nominate someone who has a demonstrated commitment to human and civil rights and to the independence of the judiciary.”