Sandra Day O'Connor Pt. 2

  • Aired:  03/05/13
  •  | Views: 23,099

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor shares the opinion-writing process and defends the Court's transparency. (4:39)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM.

WE'RE TALKING WITH FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR.

YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING TO ME -- WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT AND THEY SEEM

PROTECTIVE OVER THE PROCESS AND YOU WERE SAYING ONE OF REASONS YOU THOUGHT THAT MIGHT BE.

>> THE SUPREME COURT IS THE ONE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT THAT HAS WRITTEN EXPLANATIONS FOR

EVERYTHING IT DECIDES AND Z.

THAT'S PRETTY IMPRESSIONIVE.

NO MEMBER OF CONGRESS HAS TO WRITE AN WRITTEN EXPLANATION OF EVERYTHING.

>> Jon: SUCH A GOOD POINT.

>> YES, NOT BAD.

>> Jon: BUT IT IS.

IN THE LEGISLATURE -- THINGS HAPPEN THAT SEEM INEXPLICABLE ON THE LEGISLATIVE SIDE.

>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: OR THE EXECUTIVE SIDE AND NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW HOW IT WENT DOWN.

IT'S BACKROOM THINGS THAT SHOW UP AND THEY VOTE ON IT.

>> BUT EVERY MEMBER OF THE COURT HAS TO HAVE A WRITTEN EXPLANATION.

YOU CAN JOIN SOMEONE ELSE'S OPINION AND SAY I AGREE WITH THAT AND SIGN IT BUT EVERY

JUSTICE HAS SIGNED ON TO SOME EXPLANATION.

IT'S IMPRESSIVE, I THINK.

>> Jon: IT'S VERY IMPRESSIVE.

IN SOME WAYS THIS, IS GOING TO SOUND CRAZY, DO THE JUSTICES AFTER DOING THAT JOB FOR A WHILE

FEEL JUDGED.

>> I THINK DO YOU FEEL JUDGED.

YOU FEEL THAT EVERYTHING DO YOU IS UNDER SCRUTINY.

EVERYBODY IN THE COUNTRY WHO HAS AN INTEREST IN THEY CAN SEE IT AND TALK ABOUT.

>> Jon: ANY IDIOT CAN MAKE FUN OF IT.

>> MAKE A JOKE OF IT OR WHATEVER.

>> Jon: IT'S NOT FAIR.

>> HARDLY BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT WORKS.

>> Jon: IF I SEE SOMEBODY DOING IT YOU CAN BE SURE I'LL STOP THEM AS IT GOES.

IS THERE SOMETHING TO -- WHEN YOU GET TO WRITE THE OPINION AND PEOPLE SIGN ON, IS THAT

SOMETHING THAT IS DECIDED IN A ROOM THEY SAY GRAB THIS ONE.

IS IT A DIVISION OF LABOR OR YOU REALLY HAVE A HANDLE OF IT.

>> THE CHIEF JUSTICE ASSIGNS SOMEONE TO WRITE EACH OPINION.

AS THE WRITER YOU HOPE TO GET OTHER JUSTICES TO JOIN YOU.

IF THEY DON'T AGREE THEY CAN DISSENT OR WRITE SEPARATELY OR SAY A DEGREE WITH SOME OF IT BUT

NOT ALL OF IT AND WRITE SEPARATELY IN THE CASE.

>> Jon: WAS THERE ANYBODY'S WRITING ON THE COURT OR IN THE PAST THAT YOU THOUGHT IT'S

MAGNIFICENT WORDSMITHING.

I DON'T NECESSARILY AGREE BUT I LOVE THE WRITING.

>> WHO WERE SOME?

>> HOLMES WASN'T ALL BAD.

>> Jon: OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, I'VE HEARD GOOD THINGS.

>> THERE WERE LOTS OF WONDERFUL WRITERS IN THE COURT.

>> Jon: WAS THE COURT FORMERLY MORE COLORFUL?

DO YOU THINK THEY'VE BECOME MORE CAUTIOUS IN THEIR OPINIONS?

DO YOU THINK USED TO BE MORE COLORFUL.

>> I GUESS WITH THE READY AVAILABILITY OF EVERYTHING PERHAPS THE JUSTICES ARE

SOMEWHAT MORE CAUTIOUS ABOUT WHAT THEY DO BUT NOT MUCH.

IT'S ALWAYS BEEN OUT THERE FOR PUBLIC SCRUTINY.

>> Jon: ANY JUSTICE FROM THE PAST THAT YOU THINK BOY I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO SERVE WITH THAT JUSTICE?

THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SOMEBODY --

>> WE HAD A LOT OF GOOD JUSTICES IN THE PAST.

>> Jon: ANYBODY THAT YOU THOUGHT --

>> YES.

>> Jon: CAN I NAME THEM?

RUTLEDGE?

WHO IS RUTLEDGE?

>> DOESN'T COME TO MIND BUT --

>> Jon: NEVER CARED FOR RUTLEDGE.

GOTTA WATCH THAT GUY.

FRANKFURTER?

>> AT TIMES.

>> Jon: DID YOU EVER GO BACK TO ANY OF YOUR OPINIONS AND THINK TO YOURSELF --

>> HOW CAN YOU HAVE SAID THAT I MIGHT SAY.

>> Jon: AT ALL.

>> WE'LL SEE.

>> Jon: AT THE NEXT JUSTICE BRUNCH.

>> LUNCH.

>> Jon: IT'S NOT A BRUNCH, ALWAYS A LUNCH.

>> ALWAYS A LUNCH.

>> Jon: THIS IS WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES VERY, VERY SPECIFICALLY.

WILL YOU PLEASE TELL JUSTICE SCALIA FROM ME, COME SEE ME ON THE PROGRAM.

[ LAUGHTER ]

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THE BOOK IS CALLED "OUT OF ORDER." LOOK AT US WE GOT YOU OUT ON TIME AND TO YOUR NEXT ENGAGEMENT.

>> I'M VERY IMPRESSED.

>> Jon: OUT OF ORDER IS ON THE BOOKSHELVES NOW.

JUSTICE SANDRA D

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