Thursday, July 07, 2005

A different take on O'Connor's departure

Rather than focusing on her swing-voting and future confirmation battles, Ed Lazarus looks at the reason behind her choice to retire now, and what it means about differences between the sexes and expectations about them.
Observers - mostly male - expected her to want to stay on the Court to preserve the core of her own day-to-day life as she coped with the difficulties of her husband's illness. We expected she would look to work as, perhaps, a needed respite from family responsibilities. We thought that if caretaking need to be done, she would leave it to others.

In short, we expected O'Connor to behave just as the male justices traditionally have. And that was a big mistake. She has made a very different choice - a choice that paves the way for other Justices, including men, to do the same if they so choose.
I appreciate just knowing that she has an ailing husband at home whom she wants to spend time with; the retirement struck me as out of the blue. Feminist ruminations are icing on the cake. O'Connor has always done things her own way, and it's fitting that this decision too comes from a basis we didn't anticipate.

(via How Appealing)

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