Exploiting Justice O’Connor’s Tragedy for Political Points


By: Warner Todd Huston

I have to say, this little L.A.Times editorial really takes the cake for insensitivity. It should receive some sort of award for being one of the most gauche pieces I’ve seen from the extreme leftists masquerading as “journalists” for a long, long time. Yes, the Times deserves condemnation for exploiting someone’s tragedy to make a mere political point. In “Sandra Day O’Connor’s loss, and ours,” the Times laments that because of the former Justice’s husband’s Alzheimer’s disease, Sandra Day quit the bench so we lost her to the court and that loss has resulted in the court being “radically tilted to the right.” Imagine exploiting John O’Connor’s disease like this? If a Republican had written this editorial, imagine the hate that would be spewed against him?

This is really a shocking editorial.

From Arizona last week came the sad news that John O’Connor, husband of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, has grown romantically attached to another patient in an Alzheimer’s facility where both live. For Justice O’Connor, the pain of watching her husband drift away must at some level be balanced by the notion that his new relationship brings him some measure of happiness and peace. Their son reported she was gratified that her husband “was relaxed and happy and comfortable living here.”

Undeniably this is sad news but is it something we need to know? Is it our business that this man’s brain disabling disease has caused his unknowing infidelity? Shouldn’t this be left in the realm of personal family tragedy not open for public consumption? Where is the public’s need to know here? But wait until you see where the L.A.Times takes this story…

John O’Connor’s fading connection stands as a reminder of the capriciousness of this tragic disease and, in this case, of its consequences not just for the O’Connor family but for the nation.

Their loss is our loss? How is that, you wonder?

Justice O’Connor decided to leave the court in 2005 in part to care for her husband, who had sacrificed much for her and whose grasp of memory was rapidly weakening. Yet by the time her successor was confirmed, her husband’s Alzheimer’s had progressed to the point that there was little she could do for him. Her protracted departure from the court denied her the time she had hoped to give her husband, and it had a profound and lasting effect on the court she left. By replacing her with Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush radically tilted the bench to the right, substituting Alito’s strident conservatism for O’Connor’s studied moderation.

Who the heck does the Times think they are to scold Sandra Day O’Connor for retiring from the Supreme Court even though they, in their expert medical opinion, have determined that it was somehow too late to help her husband? Should the former Justice have just washed her hands of her own husband to please the Times?

Disgusting, LAT, simply disgusting.

And then they go for their political point. Her retiring (which she was on the road to doing soon anyway) sent the court in a “radically” right direction! Imagine this claim? They are blaming her husband’s disease for their political discomfort!

But they aren’t done yet…

That was especially apparent at the end of the court’s last term, when Alito joined conservative justices in asserting that the Constitution does not permit public schools to adopt plans, even voluntarily, to achieve racial balance. Throughout her long career, O’Connor consistently ruled that schools could take race into account, so the switch of her vote for Alito’s endangers a long and distinguished line of precedent that has strengthened American life. O’Connor protected and nurtured that reasoning; Alito has abandoned it.

So, next the LAT has the gall to blame the O’Connors for their comrade’s inability to racially rig school admissions?

Will the LAT stoop to no lows to get their political way? Will they even blame Alzheimer’s patients for their disease?

It is the doubly sad tragedy of John O’Connor’s Alzheimer’s that he is becoming lost to his wife, and that she has been lost to us.

No, what is sad, L.A.Times, is that you have no scruples, no civility, and not enough upbringing to stop yourself from trying to wring political ends from the medical tragedies of prominent citizens?

This is one disgusting display of insensitivity. But it certainly is what we’ve come to expect from the left in America, isn’t it? All means are justified if it wins the L.A.Times’ political ends.

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