First female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dies at 93

 December 2, 2023

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice on the nation's highest court, died Friday at the age of 93.

O'Connor reportedly passed away following advanced dementia and a respiratory illness.

Her appointment

"O’Connor was appointed to the court in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and served nearly a quarter-century, retiring in 2006," CNBC reported.

"She was replaced by Justice Samuel Alito, who in 2022 wrote the majority opinion overturning a federal right to abortion that had been protected for decades by the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey," it added.

The Chief Justice's statement

"A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O'Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation's first female Justice," Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement.

"She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. 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," he continued.

A beloved leader

“Ronald Reagan put it best when he called Justice O’Connor a ‘person for all seasons’,” said former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “Her life and career are a testament to hard work, determination, Western grit and the American dream.”

Ducey called O’Connor a “force of nature, with a keen grasp on basic common sense.”

Only five other women have served as justices on the Supreme Court. They include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020, and current justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett and Ketanji Brown Jackson, making O'Connor just the second female justice to pass away following nearly a quarter-century of service.

The former justice's life blazed a trail for many American female leaders who have been inspired by her efforts. O’Connor is survived by her three sons, Scott, Brian and Jay, six grandchildren and her brother, Alan.

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