Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman Supreme Court Justice, Passed Away

Sandra Day O’Connor, the trailblazing first woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a pivotal justice at the court’s center for over a generation, passed away on Friday, as announced by a spokesperson for the court.

Sandra Day O’Connor death was attributed to complications arising from advanced dementia and a respiratory illness. She was 93.
  1. Career as a Justice:
    • Served as a Supreme Court Justice from the early 1990s until retirement in 2005.
    • Noted for being the swing justice, often holding the decisive vote in contentious cases.
    • Criticized for a lack of consistent judicial philosophy but praised for a practical approach seen as a moderating influence.
  2. Judicial Leanings:
    • Displayed a diverse range of decisions, sometimes siding with conservatives and other times with liberals.
    • Examples include supporting taxpayer-funded vouchers for religious school students, ending the 2000 Florida recount, advocating for states’ rights, upholding affirmative action, and promoting the separation of government and religion.
  3. Background and Early Life:
    • Grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona-New Mexico border.
    • Graduated from Stanford University Law School.
    • Initially expressed conservative views during Senate confirmation, especially on abortion.
  4. Political Career:
    • Appointed to fill a vacancy in the Arizona state senate in 1969.
    • Became the first woman in the country to be a state senate majority leader.
  5. Nomination to the Supreme Court:
    • Recommended by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
    • Initially sounded conservative during Senate confirmation but later supported abortion rights.
  6. Personal Life: Sandra Day O’Connor
    • Married John, had three children, and was an active presence in Washington social events.
    • Faced breast cancer and later became an advocate for health and making each day meaningful.
  7. Retirement and Advocacy:
    • Retired at age 75 to care for her husband, who had Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Continued to advocate for non-political judicial appointments and emphasized the importance of civics education in public schools.
  8. Legacy: Sandra Day O’Connor
    • First woman appointed as a Supreme Court Justice, inspiring the appointment of women in other states.
    • Rejected the idea that gender should influence judicial decisions, quoting a supporter’s letter emphasizing equality in the role

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