Sandra Day O’Connor: ‘We Need Somebody There Now’ To Replace Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia (L) and Sandra Day O'Connor (R) in Washington, DC, September, 7, 2005
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says President Obama should quickly nominate a new justice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who was found dead last Saturday.

O’Connor, 85, who was appointed to the high court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, told Fox 10 in Phoenix she disagreed with Republicans who said nominations to the high court should wait until after a new president is inaugurated in 2017.

“So when you hear one side saying let’s wait until the next president is in office, what do you think about that?” Fox 10’s Troy Hayden asked O’Connor.

“I don’t agree with it,” she replied. “I think we need somebody there now to do the job, and let’s get on with it.”

One of the names for potential Obama nominees discussed in the media has been that of Sri Srinivasan – who clerked for O’Connor.

O’Connor, who was the first woman justice appointed to the Supreme Court, retired in 2006 and was replaced by current Justice Samuel Alito – whose nomination then-Sen. Barack Obama filibustered in the Senate.

In 2009, Obama awarded O’Connor the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – in recognition of her accomplishments. O’Connor was considered an establishment moderate. Despite being a Reagan appointee, she repeatedly voted in favor of abortion rights and racial preferences, and against free speech and religious liberty.

Scalia, O’Connor said, “was a remarkable man and a fine jurist. He had the background and the capacity to do the job magnificently.”