07/01/2005 04:29 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Sandra Day O'Connor Litmus Test

"You're one of the great Americans.”

George W. Bush to Sandra Day O’Connor 7/1/2005

“[O’Connor is] a discerning and conscientious judge and a public servant of complete integrity.”

George W. Bush on Sandra Day O’Connor 7/1/2005

Then, it’s settled – we should have a Supreme Court nominee just like Sandra Day O’Connor. If she is a great American who is a discerning judge with complete integrity – what more could you want?

Now that Sandra Day O’Connor has announced her resignation, the conservatives and liberals will come out with guns blazing. The conservatives will try to get Bush to nominate someone who has an extreme right-wing agenda. The liberals will counter their every move. There promises to be a huge battle filled with filibusters and bunker busters.

Before we all go nuclear, how about a reasonable compromise – a justice just like Sandra Day O’Connor. She was appointed by Ronald Reagan, a lifelong Republican, a conservative on a great majority of issues, and she was the deciding vote in the Bush v. Gore decision that handed George Bush the presidency. If that’s not conservative enough, is there anything that will appease the right-wing?

The President has already expressed how highly he thinks of the retiring justice, so it sounds eminently reasonable to ask that he appoint someone just like her. No one is asking he appoint a liberal justice or even a moderate, but if the person who voted to make him president is not conservative enough for this administration, one has to honestly wonder if they are looking for someone who is extreme rather than conservative.

Given that the Democratic leadership has had kind words for the departing Sandra Day O’Connor today as well; this argument could also be used against them. If you liked her so much, then you won’t mind someone close to her judicial temperament. There, we have a compromise – the Sandra Day O’Connor Litmus Test.