BREAKING: Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Dies at 93

The first woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice has passed away. Sandra Day O’Connor was 93. A true trailblazer with eloquence and intellect, O’Connor spent a quarter century on the high court.


A press release from the Supreme Court announced:

Retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sandra Day O’Connor died this morning in Phoenix, Arizona, of complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s, and a respiratory illness. She was 93 years old. Justice O’Connor was appointed to the Court by President Reagan in 1981 and retired in 2006, after serving more than 24 years on the Court. She was the first female member of the Court. She is survived by her three sons, Scott (Joanie) O’Connor, Brian (Shawn) O’Connor, and Jay (Heather) O’Connor, six grandchildren: Courtney, Adam, Keely, Weston, Dylan, and Luke, and her beloved brother and co-author, Alan Day, Sr. Her husband, John O’Connor, preceded her in death in 2009.

O’Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1930. She graduated near the top of her class at Stanford Law School, but as a woman in 1952, she struggled to find work as an attorney. She finally talked the district attorney in San Mateo County, Calif., to hire her as a deputy county attorney.

Shortly after a year working in Texas, O’Connor worked as a civilian attorney with the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps while her husband John was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. After John was discharged, the family moved to Arizona, where she practiced law and eventually spent four years as Arizona’s assistant attorney general. 


In 1969, she received an appointment to fill a vacant seat in the Arizona State Senate, winning reelection twice and becoming majority leader — the first woman to do so. O’Connor also wrote five books and later co-founded the civics education platform iCivics.

“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,” Chief Justice John Roberts said of O’Connor. “We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot.”

When he appointed her to the Supreme Court, Ronald Reagan called her a “woman for all seasons,” and she lived a full and fulfilling life. No plans for her funeral have been announced yet.

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