Trump should pick a woman for Supreme Court

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A little more than 37 years after Ronald Reagan’s first appointment to the Supreme Court was announced, his last appointee will retire. For the first time in nearly four decades, there will not be a Reagan appointee on the court.

To some, that is regrettable. To others, it may be something to celebrate. Either way, it is worth noting that Reagan’s first appointee — Sandra Day O’Connor — and his last appointee — Anthony Kennedy — were perhaps the two most important and influential justices in the last three decades.

Reagan announced his intention to nominate O’Connor to be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1981. She would, upon confirmation, be the first woman in history to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Today, the idea of women serving on the Supreme Court is taken for granted. Many in this country do not know of a time when there wasn’t a woman on the court. Since Justice O’Connor, there have been four women nominated and three confirmed to the court. The idea of an all-male bench is dead. As well it should be.

Nominating O’Connor fulfilled a pledge Reagan made in his campaign for the presidency. His promise was not made to win votes; rather, it was based on his deeply held belief that it was discriminatory to exclude women from seats on the nation’s highest court and that there had to be women jurists who were as qualified — if not more so — than the more than 100 men who had sat on the court.
Simply put, Reagan believed it was time. But it was not lost on his handlers that such a promise helped blunt criticism of Reagan being somewhat less than a strong supporter of equal opportunities for women, something he would repeatedly disprove as president.
So when Associate Justice Potter Stewart informed the President he was stepping down, Reagan told his team he wanted qualified women to be among the candidates presented for his consideration.
In O’Connor he found a distinguished, respected and wise jurist every bit as worthy of sitting on the nation’s highest court as any man. The rest, as they say, is history. She would become the decisive vote in many of the court’s cases — siding with the more liberal justices on cases that dealt with civil and voting rights.