Reagan Foreign Policy Speach/O'Connor Appointed to Supreme Court

Published: 1981
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Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, member of the Alzheimer's Study Group, testifies about Alzheimer's disease before the Senate Special Committee on Aging on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 14, 2008. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)

President Reagan, in the first major foreign-policy speech, addressed the National Press Club in Washington and said the United States would not deploy its medium-range missiles if the Russians removed their missiles from Europe, an offer rejected by the Soviets, making the resumption of the arms-reduction talks in Geneva more difficult.

The United Nations demonstrated its inability to force the Soviet Union to remove its troops from Afghanistan, passing a resolution in the General Assembly calling for the withdrawal of those troops, but failing to exert any real pressure; and 70,000 Russian soldier are still there.

But the UN did have an opportunity to put a feather in its cap. On October 15th the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for aiding homeless and displaced people around the world, the second time the agency has won the award. The United State won the lion's share of the other Nobel prizes.

On July 7th, President Reagan selected a woman as his first choice to succeed retiring Justice Potter Stewart on the U.S. Supreme Court. While he was running for President, Mr. Reagan promised one of his first appointments would be a women.

On September 21st, Pye Chamberlayne reports, Sandra Day O'Connor, a 51-year-old Arizona Court of Appeals' judge, won Senate confirmation and became the first woman in American history to be named to the U.S. Supreme Court …


Pye Chamberlayne: "The Vice-President of the United States, the leaders of the Senate, the Attorney General stood and applauded as Sandra Day O'Connor walked out on the Senate steps facing the Supreme Court and delivered her opinion of the 99-to-0 vote for her confirmation as the first woman on the Supreme Court … "

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: "'I'm absolutely overjoyed with the expression of support from the Senate.'"

Pye Chamberlayne: "Her views were generally conservative on busing, access of the poor to the courts, rights of criminal defendants, the death penalty. She was something of a feminist, having backed ERA, no-fault divorce, limited combat roles for women; having supported abortion in some cases and withheld her legal opinion on abortion on demand. This had earned her bitter opposition from the New Right.

"But the failure of the New Right to develop a single vote against her had made liberal Democrats observe that the supposed political power of the New Right might be less than many had thought.

"Pye Chamberlayne, Capital Hill."