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January 1, Supreme Court Honors Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Legacy in Solemn Repose



Former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is lying in repose at the Supreme Court, allowing the public to pay their respects before her funeral service tomorrow at the Washington National Cathedral.

The Supreme Court held a private ceremony at 9:30 a.m. ET with Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Rev. Jane Fahey, a former clerk for Justice O’Connor, as speakers. O’Connor is now viewable from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. inside the building’s Great Hall.

O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, passed away in Phoenix on Dec. 1 at the age of 93. The Court stated that she died due to “complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s, and a respiratory illness.”

She is remembered as a history-making woman, a pragmatic conservative, a keen legal mind, and a beloved mother and grandmother.

Appointed to the Court in 1981 by former President Reagan, O’Connor stepped down in 2006 but remained an active and public voice for various causes, including judicial independence and civics education. In 2018, she revealed in a letter to the public that she was in the early stages of dementia.

Following her death, current Supreme Court Justices praised O’Connor as a trailblazer, an “American hero,” and “hugely influential.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. said in a statement, “A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor added, “I mourn the passing of another American hero. When Sandra Day O’Connor, the ‘cowgirl from out west,’ became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, she changed the world and made history. Indeed, her entire life was pathbreaking. She served in all three branches of government, was a brilliant champion of women’s rights, and promoted civic education in a way that transformed how children learn about our shared responsibility as citizens.”

Why It Matters (op-ed)

The passing of former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is a moment for our nation to reflect on her legacy and impact. As the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, O’Connor broke barriers and paved the way for future generations.

Her pragmatic conservatism and keen legal mind served as a model for jurists across the country. O’Connor’s dedication to judicial independence and civics education demonstrated her commitment to the foundations of our democracy.

In mourning her loss, we celebrate an American hero who left an indelible mark on our nation’s history. O’Connor’s trailblazing spirit will continue to inspire and challenge us to strive for equality and justice.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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