Date of Award
Master of Arts
Sandra J Sarkela
Antonio de Velasco
Despite unanimous confirmation by the Senate, President Reagan's 1981 nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the United States Supreme Court was not without controversy. As a rhetorical form, any confirmation process is fundamentally about determining whether a candidate will protect liberty. The study of O'Connor's confirmation not only increases scholarly understanding of the confirmation process as a rhetorical form but it also complicates the rhetorical narratives of both the women's and conservative movements. While her nomination was groundbreaking for women, it would also become a battle to define the future of political conservatism, specifically the emerging controversy around abortion rights. Although her gender cannot be discounted for its effect on the narrative, through a rhetorical analysis of articles published about O'Connor's nomination, as well as testimonies to the Senate Judiciary Committee, this research finds that social conservatives questioned O'Connor's position on abortion to judge her ability to protect liberty.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Ball, Kristen Howell, "The Appointment of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: When the Confirmation Process and Abortion Politics Collide" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1467.