POLITICS
07/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sandra Day O'Connor "Pleased" With Sotomayor Nomination, Criticizes The Term "Activist Judge" (VIDEO)

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was a guest on the "Today Show' this morning to discuss her new children's book. However, matters quickly turned to the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

Meredith Vieira noted that when O'Connor had stepped down from the bench she was hoping to be replaced by another woman, and was disappointed when that did not happen. O'Connor explained why she was "pleased" with Sotomayor's nomination.

Of course I'm pleased that we will have another woman on the court. I do think it's important not to just have one. Our nearest neighbor Canada also has a court of nine members and in Canada there's a woman chief justice and there are four women all told... About half of all law graduates today are women, and we have a tremendous number of qualified women in the country who are serving as lawyers and they ought to be represented on the Court.

She told Vieira that Sotomayor was in for a rough time, calling the nomination process "miserable."

O'Connor also criticized the term "activist judge," saying she "doesn't think the public understands what's meant by it." Politicians use it to accuse judges of trying to be legislators, but O'Connor pointed out the problem with trying to make such a clear-cut distinction between a judge and legislator is that "at the appellate level, and the Supreme Court is the top at the appellate level, rulings of the court do become binding law. And so it's a little hard to talk in terms of who's an activist."

Watch the interview below.