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Justice O’Connor Was Influenced by ‘the Perspective of a Woman’ Too

While Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s being pilloried on the right for a 2001 speech in which she said her race and gender inevitably impact her judgments, it turns out retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said much the same thing, Greg Sargent reports.

In an interview with Ladies Home Journal that Sargent unearthed, O’Connor — who was appointed to the high court by President Reagan in 1981 — said :

“My experience as a legislator gives me a different perspective. Also, I bring to the court the perspective of a woman primarily in a sense that I am female, just as I am white, a college graduate, etc.

“Yes, I will bring the understanding of a woman to the court, but I doubt that that alone will affect my decisions,” she said. “I think the important fact about my appointment is not that I will decide cases as a woman, but that I am a woman who will get to decide cases.” [Emphasis added.]

And after legendary Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall retired, Sargent adds, O’Connor said approvingly that Marshall “imparted not only his legal acumen but also his life experiences” to the bench.

Sargent’s find comes on the heels of Glenn Greenwald’s bombshell about Justice Samuel Alito, who said during his confirmation hearing (quite proudly) that he was influenced by his ethnic and family background:

When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account.

And then there’s President George H.W. Bush praising Justice Clarence Thomas for his “empathy,” as Media Matters reported and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow picked up last night, and the statements in opinions written by Justice Antonin Scalia that the courts of appeals “make law.”

So is that “strike four” for the GOP’s pot-shots on Sotomayor?**

**

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