Magazine article The American Prospect

Nan in Action

Magazine article The American Prospect

Nan in Action

Article excerpt

OBSESSING OVER A POSSIBLE Supreme Court retirement comes naturally to Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, a Washington-based association of environmental, civil-rights, mental-health, and other progressive organizations that monitors judicial nominations. But late June was particularly frenzied. She says she couldn't sleep for nearly a week, wondering, is William Rehnquist really going to retire? "Everyone was anticipating [that he would]," she says, sitting at her desk in a comfortably cluttered office overlooking Dupont Circle on a recent Wednesday afternoon. "But I kept putting myself in his shoes and thinking, 'I'm not going to step down.'" Still, the news that it was Sandra Day O'Connor and not Rehnquist (at least, not yet) threw her and the rest of the people in her office for a loop.

"We thought, 'Holy shit,'" says Julie Bernstein, the 35-year-old communications director, looking over at Aron.

"What I thought?' says the somewhat more circumspect Aron. "Pivotal seat."

"The first thing we said to the staff was, 'You're in for the summer of your life,'" she adds. "'And you're going to work the hardest you've ever worked. …

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