CONGRESS: WE THE PEOPLE - "Sandra Day O'Connor Confirmati...
Washington, DC, United States
13:41:53 - 13:44:27
Edwin Newman (VO) says Senators venting grievances was precisely what occurred when President Reagan placed the nomination of the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1981. Judge Sandra Day O'Connor speaking. U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Strom Thurmond (R-SC): "What experience qualifies you to be Justice of the United States Supreme Court?" Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) asks: "Is there a need for life tenure for Supreme Court Justices?" Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) asks: "What, in your view, will be the most difficult question the Court will face in the next 25 years—the death penalty? Abortion? What will it be?" Judge O'Connor listening to the questions. Newman (VO) says no question is off-limits in a Senate confirmation hearing, and in the scrutiny of Judge O'Connor, it seemed no question was left unasked. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) speaking hearing. Judge O'Connor sitting and listening. Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-NV) speaking at hearing, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sitting next to him. Judge O'Connor speaking. Sen. Jeremiah Denton (R-AL) asks: "Do you believe there are any constitutional limitations on laws which might be passed by a State or the Federal Government forbidding homosexuality, homosexual practices, or limiting the rights of homosexuals because of their sexual deviance?" Judge O'Connor responds, "Senator Denton, I can only say that the state of the law concerning homosexuality is, in one word, unsettled." Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asks, "Could I ask you your personal views on busing?" Judge O'Connor responds, "This is a matter of concern, I think, to many people. The transportation of students over long distances and in a time-consuming process in an effort to get them to school can be a very disruptive part of any child's educational program." Newman (VO) says that of all the social policy issues, abortion dominated the hearings. Sen. Hatch speaking. Sen. Thurmond asks, "Would you discuss your philosophy on abortion, both personal and judicial..." Judge O'Connor responds, "Very well. May I preface my response by saying that the personal views and philosophies, in my view, of a Supreme Court Justice and indeed any judge should be set aside insofar as it is possible to do that in resolving matters that come before the Court...my own view in the area of abortion is that I am opposed to it as a matter of birth control or otherwise. The subject of abortion is a valid one, in my view, for legislative action subject to any constitutional restraints or limitations."