ADL Statement on Supreme Court Justice O'Connor's Retirement
New York, NY, July 1, 2005 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) saluted Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the occasion of her retirement from the United States Supreme Court.
Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, issued the following statement:
Sandra Day O'Connor will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court's most influential Justices. Not only was she the first woman to serve on the Court, she also became the key swing vote on many of the most important decisions of the past quarter of a century. Always independent, always thoughtful, never an ideologue, Justice O'Connor decided every case on its individual merits as she saw them.
Justice O'Connor's legacy is particularly striking in the area of church-state issues. Her "endorsement test," which states that the government cannot engage in activity which carries the message of endorsement of religion, has become the new standard.
In her very last opinion, a concurrence in a case invalidating the display of the Ten Commandments on two court house walls in Kentucky, Justice O'Connor eloquently paid tribute to the framers of the Constitution and their vision of religious liberty. "We do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment," she wrote. "The religion clauses…protect adherents of all religions, as well as those who believe in no religion at all."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.