Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman on Supreme Court, dies at 93
Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman on Supreme Court, dies at 93


(*93*) Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor testifies in the course of the Senate Judiciary Committee listening to on “Ensuring Judicial Independence Through Civics Education” on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. 

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Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to function a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, has died.

O’Connor was 93 years outdated.

She died in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday “of issues associated to superior dementia, in all probability Alzheimer’s, and a respiratory sickness,” the Supreme Court stated in a press release.

O’Connor was appointed to the courtroom in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and served almost a quarter-century, retiring in 2006.

She was changed by Justice Samuel Alito, who in 2022 wrote the bulk opinion overturning a federal proper to abortion that had been protected for many years by the circumstances Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

O’Connor had co-authored the bulk opinion within the latter case, which Alito blasted for having “enflamed debate and deepened division” within the United States.

She stepped again from public life in late 2018, after having issues along with her short-term reminiscence, her household stated at the time.

Newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor stands in entrance of the US Supreme Court Building following her being sworn in, September 25, 1981, in Washington, DC. 

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Chief Justice John Roberts, in a press release launched by the courtroom, stated, “A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic path as our Nation’s first feminine Justice. She met that problem with undaunted dedication, indeniable potential, and fascinating candor.”

“We at the Supreme Court mourn the lack of a beloved colleague, a fiercely unbiased defender of the rule of regulation, and an eloquent advocate for civics training,” Roberts stated. “And we rejoice her enduring legacy as a real public servant and patriot.”

Iraq Study Group member and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in her workplaces at the United States Supreme Court on January 23, 2007 in Washington, D.C.

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Georgetown University Law School Professor Julie O’Sullivan, who clerked for O’Connor within the mid-Eighties, stated she was a “good” justice who got here on to the courtroom as a libertarian, however “who developed fairly a bit” through the years by way of authorized philosophy.

O’Sullivan additionally stated that O’Connor was “a really brave woman to take” on the function of the first feminine justice.

“She was at all times very aware that everyone was watching,” stated O’Sullivan, noting that O’Connor was identified to say that “she did not thoughts being the first, however she did not wish to be the final.”

O’Connor insisted that the 9 justices “all have lunch collectively” repeatedly, made lunch for her clerks once they labored on Saturdays, and strongly believed in getting alongside along with her colleagues, no matter their variations of opinion, O’Sullivan stated.

And “she knew how one can get to 5,” O’Sullivan famous, referring to the minimal variety of justices wanted for a majority ruling typically. “She was very strategic.”

During her tenure, O’Connor was joined on the nine-member Supreme Court by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Before O’Connor died, Ginsburg was the newest justice to have died, in September 2020.

Diane Sawyer leads a dialogue with U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Badar Ginsburg, left, and retired justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in the course of the Women’s Conference in Long Beach, CA on October 26, 2010.

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Four different ladies have been appointed to the courtroom since Ginsburg was, all of whom are at present serving: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

O’Connor was serving as a choose on the Arizona Court of Appeals when Reagan, a Republican, tapped her to grow to be the first feminine on the Supreme Court in its then 191-year historical past.

The El Paso, Texas, native beforehand served as assistant legal professional normal of Arizona, as a member of the Arizona state Senate, the place she was majority chief at one level, and as a choose of the Maricopa County Superior Court.

O’Connor’s husband, John, died in 2009, three years after she retired to look after him when he was affected by Alzheimer’s.

O’Sullivan stated that through the years on the courtroom and afterward, O’Connor “regarded out” for her former clerks, a few of whom she arrange with their future spouses.

“And she had these t-shirts that had ‘grand clerks’ on them,” stated O’Sullivan, noting with amusing that her personal son refused to put on that present from the justice when he was a toddler.

O’Connor is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and her brother.

The Supreme Court’s press workplace stated funeral preparations for O’Connor can be launched when accessible.



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