Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the US Supreme Court, has died at age 93, the court announced Friday morning.
O’Connor died due to “complications related to advanced dementia,” the court said.
Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement that O’Connor “blazed an historic trail as our nation’s first female justice.”
Born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, Sandra Day O’Connor embarked on a journey that would forever change the landscape of the United States legal system. Graduating third in her class from Stanford Law School in 1952, she faced the challenges of gender discrimination in a profession dominated by men. Undeterred, she persevered and, in 1981, made history when she became the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan.
During her illustrious tenure on the Supreme Court from 1981 to 2006, Justice O’Connor became known for her pragmatic approach and thoughtful, moderate stance on the bench. Her judicious opinions and commitment to the principles of the Constitution left an indelible mark on countless landmark cases. Justice O’Connor’s influence extended beyond her legal opinions; she served as a pivotal swing vote on numerous contentious issues, embodying the essence of a true judicial moderate.
Off the bench, Justice O’Connor remained an advocate for civic education, founding the iCivics program to promote a deeper understanding of government and inspire the next generation of informed and engaged citizens. Her commitment to fostering an informed and active citizenry reflected her belief in the strength of democracy.
Sandra Day O’Connor will be remembered not only for her groundbreaking contributions to the legal field but also for her warmth, intelligence, and unwavering commitment to public service. Her legacy serves as an inspiration to aspiring jurists and a reminder of the progress made toward gender equality in the legal profession.
O’Connor is survived by her brother, three sons, as well as six grandchildren. Her husband, John O’Connor, passed away in 2009.
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