Thesis Defense Announcement

The College of Communication and Fine Arts announces the final thesis defense of

Kristen Ball

for the degree of Master of Arts

June 30, 2016 at 3:15 pm in 309, Art and Communication Building

Major Advisor: Sandra Sarkela, PhD

The Appointment of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: When the Confirmation Process and Abortion Politics Collide

ABSTRACT: Despite unanimous confirmation, Reagan’s nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court was not without controversy. While her nomination was groundbreaking for women, it would become a battle to define the future of political conservatism, specifically the controversy around abortion rights. Study of O’Connor’s confirmation not only increases scholarly understanding of the confirmation process as a rhetorical form but it also complicates the historical narratives of both the women’s and conservative movements. Although her gender cannot be discounted, through rhetorical analysis, this research finds that social conservatives questioned O’Connor’s position on abortion to judge her ability to protect liberty.