Sandra Day O'Connor

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search
The proper role of the judiciary is one of interpreting and applying the law, not making it.

Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist. She served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 until her retirement from the bench in 2005. The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, she was a crucial swing vote on the Court for many years because of her case-by-case approach to jurisprudence and her relatively moderate political views.


  • I do not believe it is the function of the judiciary to step in and change the law because the times have changed. I do well understand the difference between legislating and judging. As a judge, it is not my function to develop public policy.
    • Washington Post (September 10, 1981).
  • The proper role of the judiciary is one of interpreting and applying the law, not making it.
    • Testimony at her confirmation hearing, reported in the New York Times (February 23, 1984).
  • It is difficult to discern a serious threat to religious liberty from a room of silent, thoughtful schoolchildren.
    • Upholding the constitutionality of a "moment of silent prayer" in schools in Wallce v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985) (concurring).
  • The Constitution does not protect the sovereignty of States for the benefit of the States or state governments as abstract political entities, or even for the benefit of the public officials governing the States. To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals.
    • Striking down the "Take-Title" provision of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act in New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992).
  • It is true that many Americans find the Commandments in accord with their personal beliefs. But we do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: