Powells retirement president reagan nominated robert

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Powell‘s retirement, President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court (Abraham 282). Justice Powell was clearly a moderate on the Court, and Bork was perceived to be strongly conservative. That contrast in ideology sparked major concern. During his Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Bork was almost immediately attacked by Senator Kennedy (Abraham 282). Not only were the senators quick to attack his record, but large numbers of interest groups also mobilized large campaigns against him; left-wing interest groups spent over $1 million to fight his nomination (Caldeira and Wright). Bork was a pronounced conservative originalist, and liberal and women‘s rights interest groups feared the way he would vote in abortion cases. These numerous interest groups flooded the media with anti-Bork information, and leaders of several groups also testified at his confirmation hearings, which lasted a record of twelve days (Abraham 283). Responding to his confirmation experience, Bork said that ―a president who wants
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37 to avoid a battle like mine, and most presidents would prefer to, is likely to nominate men and women who have not written much, and certainly nothing that could be regarded as controversial‖ (Eastland). Bork‘s extensive, conservative body of opinions and writings clearly led to his eventual rejection by providing ample fuel not only for the liberal senators, but also for vocal interest groups. Unknown Nominees Sandra Day O ‘Connor, on the other hand, was much more easily confirmed. Nominated in August of 1981 by President Ronald Reagan to replace Justice Potter Stewart, O‘Connor was confirmed by a unanimous vote (Shnayerson 257). Long before joining the Court, O‘Conner and Rehnquist were old colleagues. The two first met when they attended Stanford Law School together (Smith). Both graduated at the top of their class. Rehnquist went on to the Attorney General‘s office at the U.S. Department of Justice before his nominati on, whereas O‘Connor had a more difficult road. Even though she was competitive with Rehnquist while in law school and equally qualified upon graduation, O‘Connor could only find corporate jobs as a legal secretary, for which she was seriously overqualified. These positions offered no opportunities for advancement. This prompted her move towards the public sector, which was more progressive and forward-thinking than the male-dominated white collar, corporate world. The public sector allowed her to achieve the experience and recognition, which eventually led to her nomination to the Supreme Court. Importantly, t he jobs and positions O‘Connor had prior to her nomination provided little opportunity for her to establish a controversial paper trail. This, combined with the political climate of the time, enabled an easy confirmation process. Although
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38 Judge Mildred Lillie was the first women to be formally considered for nomination some years before, O‘Connor was the first women officially nominated 15 (Maltese 14). The Court was ready for a female member.
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