By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Interview on the Rachel Maddow Show
March 4, 2013
Justice O'Connor, thank you so much for being here.
SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Well, I'm glad to be here with you, thank you.
MADDOW: I know that you cannot discuss the legal particulars of any matters that are still before the court. But am I asking an appropriate question here? Is it worth considering how changing political views, changing social mores are felt within the court?
O'CONNOR: Well, the members of the court are human beings. They read the newspaper and they probably watch a little of the news from time to time. They're not immune or restricted from being aware of what is going on around them. But I certainly think they are conscious about not letting that determine their decisions. They're not running a popularity contest there against other government actors at all. They're trying to do what they are there to do, which is determine the law as it affects certain questions that the court has agreed to resolve. So I think that's determinative for them, not public opinion. And I don't think the court does or should be governed by public opinion on how an issue should be resolved or whether to take a case.
MADDOW: There is a lot of political impact outside the court of the kinds of briefs that different groups and individual file with the court on an issue like this controversial cases about same-sex marriages.
MADDOW: Do the justices care what is in those briefs? Does it matter?
O'CONNOR: Oh, the justices read them, and it isn't