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Third-Hand Quote of the Week


"'I,' said O'Connor, 'am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning.' Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O'Connor said we must be ever vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. 'It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship,' she said, 'but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.'"

This from retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in a speech at Georgetown University, recounted on NPR by legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. The speech was not available for broadcast (in other words, no transcript and no coverage other than NPR and the Guardian UK), but O'Connor went on to directly call out Republicans for criticizing the courts. "Our effectiveness," Totenberg recalled her saying, "is premised on the notion that we won't be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts." Score one for the activist judges.