The universe, following up on the death of one controversial right-wing figure in American politics, continued tidying up with the death of former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (I/r), the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court:
Very little could happen without Justice O’Connor’s support when it came to the polarizing issues on the court’s docket, and the law regarding affirmative action, abortion, voting rights, religion, federalism, sex discrimination and other hot-button subjects was basically what Sandra Day O’Connor thought it should be.
When President Ronald Reagan named her to the Supreme Court in 1981 to fulfill a campaign promise to appoint the first female justice, she was a judge on a midlevel appeals court in Arizona, where she had long been active in Republican politics, though she had friends in both parties. Fifty-one years old at the time of her nomination, she served for 24 years, retiring in January 2006 to care for her ailing husband. As the court moved to the right during that period, her moderate conservatism made her look in the end like a relative liberal.
“Liberal” was undoubtedly not her self-image, but as the court’s rightward shift accelerated after her retirement — her successor, Samuel A. Alito Jr., was notably more conservative — she lamented publicly that some of her majority opinions were being “dismantled.”
O'Connor did write reasonable opinions, but her "balance" took the Court much farther to the right than her obituaries suggest. She also voted in the majority on a number of 5-4 decisions of dubious (or worse) jurisprudential reasoning, decisions the current feral reactionaries on the Court use to bolster their worse jurisprudential reasoning.
Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr nominated her and Justice Thomas (R$) as total F-yous to their demographic groups, too. At least O'Connor "evolved" somewhat, though her "evolution" mostly occurred after Justice Alito (R) took her seat. Funny how that works.
So: two complex but historic American politicians who made the world worse died in two days. I wonder if there will be a third?
Speaking of people who made the world worse, this just in: 311 Representatives, including 105 Republicans, voted to boot Rep. George Santos (R-NY) back to Queens a few minutes ago. The Republicans voting Aye really, really, did not want him to run for re-election in such a close district, I guess.