WASHINGTON, July 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Human Rights Campaign President Joe
Solmonese released the following statement today in response to the retirement
of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a Reagan appointee.
"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has a long and distinguished record as a
consensus builder in a closely divided court. Justice O'Connor's retirement is
a clarion call to every American that our rights are in grave danger. The loss
of Justice O'Connor's moderate voice is a serious threat to gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender rights, to women's rights and to protections for
racial, ethnic and religious minorities. We must all come together to fight
for a replacement who follows in the Justice's tradition.
"During her time on the court, Justice O'Connor became increasingly
supportive of equal rights for all Americans. Her concurring opinion in
Lawrence v. Texas recognized the basic equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender people under law. In opinions in First Amendment cases she
protected the constitutional wall between church and state. Justice O'Connor
also voted to uphold the right to choose and to preserve universities' right
to promote diversity.
"The retirement of this mainstream and fair-minded Justice leaves a void
on a court that is so closely divided. We need a nominee that all Americans
can rally behind. As President Bush and the U.S. Senate consider a
replacement on the bench, they should abandon partisanship and seek consensus
on a nominee who will protect every American fairly.
"America deserves a fair-minded justice who will recognize every
American's right to equality. As Justice O'Connor retires, there is an
opportunity to select another Justice who recognizes the fundamental
importance of equality under the law and whose decisions will be guided by it.
Given the crucial role played by the Supreme Court in the protection of civil
rights and civil liberties, the stakes for the country could not be higher.
"President Bush should look to consult with the Senate on a Justice who
walks in Justice O'Connor's footsteps of fairness. Her moderate, thoughtful
voice on the bench was a positive influence on the Court and we hope that her
replacement mirrors those qualities."
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It
effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the
public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at
work and in the community.
SOURCE Human Rights Campaign