Sandra Day O’Connor remembered by President Biden as a ‘pioneer’ in the first female justice

(Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

Sandra Day O’Connor remembered by President Biden as a ‘pioneer’ in the first female justice


Dec. 19, 2023

Justice Sandra Day OConnor, a consistent voice of moderate conservatism as the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, was remembered by President Biden on Tuesday as a pioneer in the legal world who inspired generations of women.

will be commemorated during a funeral service on Tuesday. Sandra Day O’Connor, daughter of the American West, was a pioneer in her own right who broke barriers in the legal and political worlds and the nation’s consciousness, Biden said during the funeral at the Washington National Cathedral. To her, the Supreme Court was the foundation of America. President Biden and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will speak at the funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

OConnor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006 after more than two decades and died in December. 1 at age 93.

Referring to her groundbreaking career in the courts, Biden added: How she embodied such qualities under such pressure and helped oversee the empowerment of generations of women in every part of American life.

OConnor was nominated to the court by President Reagan in 1981. An Arizona native and daughter of farmers, she was largely unknown on the national stage until her appointment. She would be called by commentators the most powerful woman in the country.

OConnor exerted significant influence on the nine-member court, generally favoring states in disputes with the federal government and often siding with police when they faced claims of violating people’s rights. Its impact is perhaps best seen, though, on court rulings on abortion. She twice helped form the majority in decisions that challenged Roe vs. Wade, upheld and reaffirmed the decision that stated that women have a constitutional right to abortion.

Thirty years after that decision, a more conservative court overturned Roe, and the opinion was written by the man who took her place, Justice Samuel.


Alito Jr.

OConnor had graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952, but soon discovered that most major law firms at the time were not hiring women. Nevertheless, she built a career that included serving as a member of the Arizona Legislature and a state judge before her appointment to the Supreme Court at age 51.

When she first arrived, there wasn’t even a ladies’ room near the courtroom. This was quickly corrected, but until 1993 she remained the only woman on the court.

In a speech before her casket was laid out Monday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor remembered O’Connor as a pioneer and living example that women could rise to any challenge, more than just hold their own in male-dominated spaces and that they could do that too. so with grace.

OConnor retired at age 75, citing her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She later expressed her regret that a woman had not been chosen to replace her


would see a record four women serving on the Supreme Court.

President Obama awarded OConnor the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

She died in Phoenix from complications related to advanced dementia and a respiratory disease. Her survivors include a brother, three sons and grandchildren.

The family has asked for donations to iCivics, the group they founded to promote citizenship education.


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