Some conservatives are apprehensive about how Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will vote in terrorism cases to be decided next week, reports USA Today. Although O’Connor usually votes with the court’s conservative wing, she increasingly has sided with the court’s more liberal members that have been decided by 5-4 votes. It’s led some conservatives to wonder whether O’Connor, 74, is turning more to the left, says the newspaper. Unlike David Souter, an appointee of the first President Bush who has become a consistent vote for the court’s more- liberal wing, conservatives never know when O’Connor will be with them or against them.
The late Ronald Reagan, who appointed her, “would be disappointed in her recent rulings,” says Charles Cooper, a Washington lawyer who was an assistant U.S. attorney general under Reagan. Todd Gaziano, legal director of the conservative Heritage Foundation, says that “she’s certainly a disappointment” to conservatives, he says. Gaziano is eager to see how O’Connor votes in the coming cases that test parts of Bush’s terrorism strategy. The cases will determine whether suspected terrorists held in Cuba should have access to U.S. courts, and whether the administration can lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely, without charges or a hearing.