Matéria enviada pelo Prof Farlei Martins
The New York Times Magazine
March 22, 2009
Questions for Sandra Day O’Connor
Interview by DEBORAH SOLOMON
At the age of 78, you have just begun a new Web site, Ourcourts.org, which
is aimed at middle-school kids and their teachers and springs from your
belief that civics education has been marginalized in this country.
Polls say only about one-third of Americans can even name the three branches
of government, much less say what they do.
What would you like us to know about the judicial branch of our government?
Apparently a great many people have forgotten that the framers of our
Constitution went to such great effort to create an independent judicial
branch that would not be subject to retaliation by either the executive
branch or the legislative branch because of some decision made by those
Tom DeLay and other conservatives railed against judges when Terri Schiavo
died. Was that painful for you?
I don’t want to name names. There were some members of Congress. I was very
concerned and continued to be because what it evidences to me is a lack of
understanding about what the framers of the Constitution were trying to put
Although you were nominated to the court by President Reagan in 1981, you
became known as a centrist who disappointed conservatives and provided
relief to liberals.
Look, that’s your spiel, not mine. I tried to decide each case based on the
law and the Constitution.
You were always very practical.
That’s my ranch upbringing. If something is broken, you repair it yourself
and you don’t care if it’s beautiful. You just care if it works.
In 2005, after you announced you would step down from the Supreme Court, you
indicated you would like to see a woman replace you.
It was better for me when I was joined at the court by a second woman. When
I was there alone, there was too much media focus on the one woman, and the
minute we got another woman, that changed.
You’re referring to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who joined the court in 1993.
I like her very much. She’s a very effective judge.
What did you think when President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to replace
Her nomination was withdrawn before I had time to think anything.
How is your husband doing?
Not well. There’s no good news with Alzheimer’s.
A while ago, it was reported that he had struck up a romance with a patient
at an assisted-care center, and you seemed not to mind.
Heavens no. He was in a cottage, and there was a woman who kind of attached
herself to him. It was nice for him to have someone there who was sometimes
holding his hand and to keep him company. And then he was moved to a
different cottage, because his condition deteriorated. And in the new
cottage, there’s another woman who has been very sweet to him. And I’m
How do you get along with John McCain, your current senator in Arizona?
I don’t know him well. He came to Arizona just shortly before I left for
Whom did you vote for in the presidential election?
Come on, is this about my Web site?
O.K., go ahead, put in a plug. Tell us why kids should log onto
You’ll have a good time if you do because we have some games that you will
find most intriguing.
Do you call yourself a feminist?
I never did. I care very much about women and their progress. I didn’t go
march in the streets, but when I was in the Arizona Legislature, one of the
things that I did was to examine every single statute in the state of
Arizona to pick out the ones that discriminated against women and get them
So do you call yourself a feminist today?
I don’t call myself that.
Is there a label you prefer?
A fair judge and a hard worker.