Sandra Day O'Connor Pt. 1

  • Aired:  03/05/13
  •  | Views: 33,525

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor discusses her book "Out of Order" and the pressures of making landmark decisions. (5:36)

>> Jon: HERE WE GO.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT SHE'S A FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO SERVE ON OUR

SUPREME COURT.

THE NEW BOOK IS CALLED OUT OF ORDER, STORIES FROM THE HISTORY OF THE SUPREME COURT.

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR.

NICE TO SEE YOU.

>> GLAD TO BE HERE.

>> Jon: THE BOOK IS CALLED "OUT OF ORDER." WHAT WAS YOUR PURPOSE IN THIS BOOK, IN PUTTING THIS PARTICULAR

BOOK TOGETHER?

>> TELLING THE STORIES ABOUT HOW THE COURT WORKS AND GIVING PEOPLE A GLIMPSE INTO SOME OF

THE THINGS.

>> Jon: IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE THE PRESSURE THAT A JUSTICE MIGHT FEEL WHEN YOU ARE DEALING

WITH AS WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER SOME OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES OF OUR DAY.

>> YES.

>> Jon: OF RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION AND THE FRANCHISE.

>> RIGHT.

>> Jon: DOES THAT WEIGHT -- DO YOU FEEL THAT WHEN YOU ARE DECIDING THOSE CASES?

>> YOU CERTAINLY DO BECAUSE YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE THE CORRECT DECISION AND BRING SOME ORDER

OUT OF OUR VARIOUS STATUTES AND CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS AND THE PRIS PRECEDENCE OF THE COURT ITSELF.

IT'S HARD SOMETIMES.

>> Jon: YOU WROTE BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF EDUCATION MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION.

>> IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO US AS A NATION.

>> Jon: WHEN THEY MADE THAT DECISION WAS IT A DIFFICULT SPHWHUN DO PEOPLE FEEL THEY

OVERREACHED AT THAT TIME?

DO YOU KNOW?

>> I DON'T KNOW THE FEELING OF THE JUSTICES BUT IT WAS A MAJOR DECISION.

AND MANY THEM ARE -- THEY EFFECT US FOR YEARS TO COME AND YOU REALLY WANT TO GET IT PROPERLY DECIDED.

>> Jon: DO YOU HAVE ONE YOU WANTED BACK THAT YOU PUT OUT THERE AND YOU WERE LIKE, THAT

WAS A ROUGH ONE?

>> IF I DID, I WOULDN'T SAY.

>> Jon: COME ON, JUSTICE!

GET IN THERE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

DO YOU EVER FEEL AS SOME OF THESE CASES ARE COMING UP TO THIS COURT OH, I'D LIKE TO JUMP

IN THERE AND -- GET YOU LIKE AN OLD BALL PLAYER.

>> I'VE NOT HAD THAT FEELING.

WHEN THEY HAVE A TERRIBLY DIFFICULT DECISION I USUALLY SAY TO MYSELF THANK GOODNESS I DON'T

HAVE TO BE THERE DECIDING IT.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> Jon: HAVE YOU MET ALL THE NEW JUSTICES.

>> YES, OF COURSE.

>> Jon: ARE THERE BUFFETS?

I DON'T KNOW HOW THE -- IS THERE A JUSTICES BRUNCH?

>> YES.

IT'S COMMON FOR ALL OF THE JUSTICES TO GET TOGETHER AND EAT LUNCH TOGETHER.

PHYSICAL THEY ARE THERE WE GO HAVE -- IF THEY ARE THERE WE GO HAVE LUNCH IN THE JUSTICES

DINING ROOM.

SEND UP FROM THE CAFETERIA WHAT WE WANT TO EAT.

>> Jon: THE CAFETERIA?

>> YES WE ORDER FROM THE CAFETERIA.

>> Jon: I FEEL LIKE CHINESE.

>> YOU CAN'T DO THAT YOU COULD HAVE IT SENT IN FROM THE COURT BUT YOU WOULDN'T GET IT FROM THE CAFETERIA.

>> Jon: HOW HARD IS IT TO GET CONSENSUS ON THE ORDER FOR LUNCH?

>> NO BECAUSE YOU JUST --

[LAUGHTER]

YOU ARE JUST ORDERING FOR YOURSELF SO IT'S PRETTY EASY.

>> Jon: THERE WAS NEVER ANY POWER IN BEING THE SWING JUSTICE FOR --

>> LUNCH, NO.

>> Jon: LET'S SAY IF A HEAVES -- FAJITAS.

>> NO.

>> Jon: VERY INTERESTING.

DO YOU FEEL THAT THESE -- THIS VOTING RIGHTS ACT IS HARD FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, THAT IT

WOULD EVEN BE CHALLENGED.

IT SEEMS TO HAVE DONE SO MUCH GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY, SO MUCH GOOD FOR VOTERS THAT HAVE BEEN DISENFRANCHISED.

I'M HAVING TROUBLE WRAPPING MY HEAD AROUND WHY IT WOULD BE CHALLENGED IN THAT REGARD.

>> I DON'T THINK THE WHOLE CONCEPT WAS CHALLENGED.

SPECIFIC PROVISIONS CHALLENGED FROM TIME TO TIME.

>> Jon: ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT THAT ONE THAT SAYS THE STATES HAVE TO ASK PERMISSION TO CHANGE

ANY OF OUR VOTING RULES?

>> WELL, THAT COULD BE ONE.

I DON'T HAPPEN TO REMEMBER TODAY.

>> Jon: DO YOU FOLLOW THE COURT AT ALL?

>> I DO A LITTLE BIT.

>> Jon: A LITTLE BIT.

>> I READ ALL THE DECISIONS WHEN THEY ARE HANDED DOWN THESE DAYS.

>> Jon: REALLY?

WHO DO YOU FIND TO BE THE BEST WRITER ON THE COURT.

>> OH, MY.

I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU THAT OPINION.

>> Jon: AH!

WHY ARE THE JUSTICES SO TIGHT LIPPED.

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR WAS ON.

SHE WOULDN'T SAY BECAUSE SHE HAS TO FACE THESE GUYS.

BUT YOU -- I FEEL LIKE THERE'S SOMETHING VERY DEEP THAT PEOPLE WHO SERVE ON THE COURT ARE PROTECTING.

>> I THINK WE --

>> Jon: THERE'S A VEIL.

>> I THINK WE RESPECT THENCE TUITION.

WE SERVED ON IT, WE ADMIRE IT AND WE DON'T WANT TO SO SOME DAMAGE.

>> Jon: REALLY.

>> WE DON'T.

>> Jon: DO YOU FEEL LIKE HE-OF-WE KNEW MORE ABOUT IT WOULD WE RESPECT IT LESS OR MORE?

>> I THINK MORE.

YOU DO KNOW A LOT ABOUT IT BECAUSE WE EXPLAIN IN DETAIL EVERY DECISION.

>> Jon: YEAH, BUT THAT'S READING.

>> YEAH, THAT'S READING.

>> Jon: AND IT'S VERY COMPLICATED.

>> IT IS COMPLICATED.

>> Jon: IT'S EXTRAORDINARILY COMPLICATED.

HERE IS WHAT WE'LL DO.

WE'LL GO TO COMMERCIAL AND YOU CAN TELL ME THE GOOD THINGS -- THE THINGS THINGS ABOUT THOUGHT YOU

FEEL ARE SO VITAL TO PROTECT.

THAT WILL HELP ME UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE ARE RELUCTANT FROM THE COURT TO SPEAK.

>> OKAY.

>> Jon: VERY GOOD.

WE'LL BE BACK WITH SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SANDRA DAY

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