Bench Memos

“Sandra Day O’Connor v. the People”

That’s the title of an excellent op-ed by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman in today’s Wall Street Journal. Here’s its opening:

Call it Supreme Hypocrisy: An ex-Supreme Court justice, still issuing rulings from the bench, wields her political clout to push citizens to abandon their own politics.

“This is Sandra Day O’Connor calling about Ballot Question 1″ was the recorded message that greeted Nevada voters when they picked up the phone earlier this week. Justice O’Connor, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2006 but sits on lower federal courts from time to time, was pitching a Nov. 2 state initiative that would replace judicial elections with “merit selection.”

This is a misnomer: Merit doesn’t figure into “merit selection.” As in the other 25 states and the District of Columbia that have the procedure, the Nevada initiative simply shifts the job of choosing judges from voters to a nominating commission. The commission presents a roster of nominees to the governor for final selection and appointment.


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