This morning, December 1st, 2023, news emerged of ex-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s death in Phoenix, Arizona.
Former President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the bench in 1981 with unanimous support.
Justice O’Connor passed away from complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s, and a respiratory illness, according to the Supreme Court.
O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court justice, retired in 2006 after serving more than 24 years.
Political and governmental figures from all parties have been paying tribute to O’Connor’s life and the legacy she has bequeathed to America
Senator Rick Scott (R-Fl) remarked O’Connor’s “legacy as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court is remarkable. She was a trailblazer who led well.”
Ann and I were saddened to hear about former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s passing.
While she may no longer be with us, her legacy as the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court is remarkable. She was a trailblazer who led well. Please join us in praying for her…
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) December 1, 2023
Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi called O’Connor a “trailblazing public servant, an icon for working mothers and an inspiration to women across the country and around the world.”
Born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930, O’Connor is a dual Stanford graduate and practiced private law domestically and abroad. O’Connor also served on Arizona’s State Senate from 1969 to 1973 and on Arizona’s Court of Appeals from 1979 until her appointment to the Supreme Court.
While characterized as conservative by some legal scholars, O’Connor’s judicial decisions swayed ideologically on various crucial issues. In 1992, for example, O’Connor cast the decisive vote in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey to uphold the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Conversely, in 2000, O’Connor sided with the conservative majority in Bush v Gore, which certified Governor George Bush’s electoral victory over Vice President Al Gore.