So it turns out that Justice O’Connor had a stake in the election in both President Bushs. In 2000, she famously said that Gore’s election was “terrible,” and would delay her retirement. She didn’t want a Democrat to name her successor. In The New Republic, Linda Hirshman unearthed a letter from O’Connor to Barry Goldwater commenting on the 1988 election:
Although most of O’Connor’s papers are private, her legendary secrecy could not prevent the publication of her correspondence with others, including Goldwater, who saved her letters to him. On November 1, 1988, then-sitting Justice O’Connor wrote to Goldwater to bemoan the state of the nation on the eve of the presidential contest between Democrat Michael Dukakis and Republican George H.W. Bush.
“A week until election day,” Justice O’Connor wrote. “Despite your advice, the campaign never really hit the basic issues. People are tired of it all. Many will not vote.I will be thankful if George B. wins. It is vital for the Court and the nation that he does.” (emphasis mine.)
These comments make her “resignation remorse” even less sympathetic.
Hirshman is writing a book “about Justices O’Connor, Ginsburg, and the achievement of legal equality for women.” I am eager to see what else she writes about.