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Commentary By Ilya Shapiro, Tim Rosenberger

MI Responds: The Legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor

Culture Supreme Court

New York, NY – The Manhattan Institute's director of constitutional studies, Ilya Shapiro, and legal fellow, Tim Rosenberger, comment on the legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor, who passed away today at the age of 93. 

"Sandra Day O’Connor was the last member of the Court who ran for public office, and the last one who thought more in practical terms than judicial modes or legal theories. Not that those are necessarily what we should look for in justices, but it goes to show that Justice O’Connor is a throwback to a time before judicial philosophy became the be-all and end-all of nominations. Because of her pragmatic moderation, for a long time the Court only went so far as she wanted it to go on any given issue—be it religious free exercise or questions of federal power—even more than Justice Anthony Kennedy, who would become known as the consummate “swing vote.” She was also by all accounts personable and funny, and human, and dedicated her retirement to promoting civics education, which our chaotic public discourse has shown to be a worthy mission. She will be missed."

- Ilya Shapiro is director of constitutional studies and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

"Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the consummate public servant, from her time in elected office, to her service as a judge, to her decision to step away from the Court while still at the height of her talents. The Justice’s example serves as a model for young lawyers of excellence and civility in the profession and how to serve at its apex while building a full and fulfilling life."

- Tim Rosenberger is legal fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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