If the first retirement has to be one of the conservative bloc, it might as well be O'Connor because her checkered career is more ambiguity than brilliance. At least she her move was made on a positive note--right after her solid defense of private property in the recent Kelo v. New London case--although she shared much of that lost-cause-glory with justice Thomas.
At the very least, she has shown a vote of confidence in President Bush versus the possibility of a future liberal nomination. Perhaps a little anger over the Kelo case has something to do with her sudden timing.
Is there a lot at stake? What kind of a question is that?!