OConnor_Corrections_final - 1 JUSTICE SANDRA DAY OCONNOR...

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1 JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR AND CORRECTIONS LAW Christopher E. Smith * I. BETWEEN THE POLAR PERSPECTIVES X II. O’CONNOR’S INFLUENCE: EIGHTH AMENDMENT X III. O’CONNOR’S MOST INFLUENTIAL OPINION X IV. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE TURNER TEST X V. CONCLUSION X During her 25-year career on the United States Supreme Court, from 1981 until 2006, 1 Justice Sandra Day O‟Connor was a key figure in controversial decisions shaping law and policy. 2 Although Ronald Reagan, a conservative president, appointed her with the hope that she would help to limit federal judges‟ involvement in public policy, 3 O‟Connor disappointed Reagan‟s supporters in many cases. 4 For example, the key vote she provided * Professor of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University. A.B., 1980, Harvard University; M.Sc., 1981, University of Bristol (England); J.D., 1984, University of Tennessee; Ph.D., 1988, University of Connecticut. 1 Sandra Day O‟Connor was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. HENRY J. ABRAHAM, JUSTICES & PRESIDENTS: A POLITICAL HISTORY OF APPOINTMENTS TO THE SUPREME COURT 330-39 (2d ed. 1985). Justice O‟Connor announced her resignation from the Court in 2005. William Branigin, Fred Barbash & Daniela Deane, Supreme Court Justice O’Connor Resigns , WASH. POST, July 1, 2005, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/01/AR2005070100653.html. However, she did not actually leave the Court until Justice Samuel Alito replaced her. See David Stout, Alito Is Sworn In After 58-42 Vote to Confirm Him , N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 31, 2006, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/31/politics/politicsspecial1/31cnd-alito.html. 2 See MARK TUSHNET, A COURT DIVIDED: THE REHNQUIST COURT AND THE FUTURE OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 54 (2005) (“Academics used some statistical techniques to measure the power of individual Justices. O‟Connor did indeed come in first according to some measures. . . . . There was no question, however, about O‟Connor‟s importance because her vote seemed often up for grabs.”). 3 See DAVID ALISTAIR YALOF, PURSUIT OF JUSTICES: PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS AND THE SELECTION OF SUPREME COURT NOMINEES 134 (1999) (“This was a criteria-driven selection framework to be sure, but the most important criteria were ideological. In short, the Reagan administration wanted to sponsor ardently conservative candidates for the high court.”). 4 See JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG, SUPREME CONFLICT: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT 28 (2007) (“More often than not, on the big cases involving contentious social issues, O‟Connor and Kennedy—or both of them together—would join the four liberals to rule against conservative positions.”).
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2 HAMLINE LAW REVIEW [Vol. 32:SP in Planned Parenthood v. Casey helped preserve a woman‟s right to obtain an abortion. 5
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2011 for the course CJ 471 taught by Professor Christophersmith during the Fall '10 term at Michigan State University.

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OConnor_Corrections_final - 1 JUSTICE SANDRA DAY OCONNOR...

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