From the Right



How Maureen Reagan ‘packed’ the Supreme Court

Michael Reagan on

Their candidate – our father – said, “Deal” and reached out his hand. He and my sister shook on it.

Later in the summer of 1980 at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, when Maureen and her friends showed up wearing big “ERA” pins, the campaign staff thought that she had gone back on her promise and they were upset.

But if you looked closely at that “ERA” button, its fine print said, “Elect Reagan Anyway.”

During the campaign against Jimmy Carter my father said if he was elected he’d put a woman on the Supreme Court, and less than a year later he kept his promise to his daughter and the voters and chose Justice O’Connor.

So when people look back and thank the people who put the first woman on the Supreme Court, you can look to Ronald Reagan, but you also have to look to Maureen Reagan.

Maureen was tough as nails and she was brave. Can you imagine anyone doing what she did today?

Ronald Reagan with three staffers on either side, and they’re all telling her she has to get off the trail because it’ll hurt the campaign – and she has the courage to say, “OK, I understand. But here’s my deal… .”

Only seven people knew that story. All of them but me are dead.

My sister, who died of cancer on Aug. 8, 2001 at age 60, shared what happened at that meeting with me on the day it happened. We talked a lot during my father’s campaigns and through the 1990s.


Maureen stood up to everyone, even her stepmother Nancy Reagan, and she had more courage than anyone in the Republican Party.

She used to say things like, “The difference between Republicans and Democrats is that it’d take the Republicans a week longer to become communists.”

She’d be right at home in the current political madness.

And she’d have a right to be proud that she did something in 1980 that helped make it possible that someday we’d get a Supreme Court Justice with the brains and class of Amy Coney Barrett.

Oh, how I wish my sister Maureen were alive today


Copyright 2020 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald Reagan.” He is the founder of the email service and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and Send comments to Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

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Copyright 2020 Michael Reagan, All Rights Reserved. Credit:



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