Former Justice O’Connor Subtly Criticizes Partial-Birth Abortion Ruling

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 22, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Former Justice O’Connor Subtly Criticizes Partial-Birth Abortion Ruling Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 22
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — Sandra Day O’Connor is no longer on the Supreme Court but that doesn’t mean the pro-abortion judge can’t use her influence to try to shape its decisions. In an interview with Fox News, the ex-justice offered a hidden rebuke to the Supreme Court members for their recent decision upholding the federal partial-birth abortion ban.

The high court’s decision overturned her opinion in a similar 2000 case regarding a Nebraska partial-birth abortion ban.

In the 2000 case, O’Connor wrote for the 5-4 majority saying the state’s ban on the three-day-long abortion procedure was unconstitutional because it lacked a health exception — even though medical groups confirm there is no reason to have the abortion to protect the mother’s life or health.

President Bush nominated and the Senate confirmed Justice Samuel Alito, who sided with the four members of the minority in the previous case to uphold the federal ban as constitutional. The new majority indicated the health exception is not necessary and that the ban can be enforced.

But O’Connor argues that the high court’s ruling on the issue “shouldn’t change just because the faces on the court have changed.”

"Obviously, that is a concern," she said, responding to a question that the court was basing its decisions "more on politics than principle."

O’Connor also condemned the actions of some pro-life members of Congress regarding judges.

"And in the Congress of the United States, there were resolutions to impeach judges for the outcome of the Terri Schiavo case," she said. "I mean, these are things that go beyond just saying some judge reached an erroneous decision. Removal from office is a kind of sanction, I think."

To continue her influence in the judicial arena, O’Connor announced that she is creating a web site for teenagers that would "instill respect" for the court’s power to protect individual freedom, which, in O’Connor’s mind, includes the freedom to have an abortion.

At the same time O’Connor seemed to acknowledge the criticism about activist judges legislating from the court.

"I do not remember a time when there were such a broad and widespread range of critics of judges," the former justice said.