From Senator Kennedy’s Opening Statement at the Confirmation Hearings of Sandra Day O’Connor, September 9, 1981:
"By some, Judge O'Connor has been termed a judicial conservative. However, simplistic labels are inadequate to define a complex concept like judicial philosophy, let alone predict a vote in a future case. What we seek in the Federal courts are judges who will display legal excellence and personal integrity and sensitivity to individual rights. It is offensive to suggest that a potential Justice of the Supreme Court must pass some presumed test of judicial philosophy. It is even more offensive to suggest that a potential Justice must pass the litmus test of any single-issue interest group. The disturbing tactics of division and distortion and discrimination practiced by the extremists of the "New Right" have no place in these hearings and no place in our Nation's democracy.
I look forward to Judge O'Connor's testimony and her response to the questions. Based on what I know today, I intend to support her nomination. I take pride in the opportunity to participate in these historic hearings."