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Biden Pays Tribute To Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman To Serve As Supreme Court Justice, After Her Death

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, died at the age of 93 on Friday.

She was known for her pivotal role in deciding key cases in an even divided court.

According to a statement released by the court, O’Connor died in Phoenix due to complications associated with advanced dementia, most likely Alzheimer’s, along with a respiratory sickness.

President Joe Biden said in a statement Saturday:

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“Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was an American icon, the first woman on our nation’s highest court. She spent her career committed to the stable center, pragmatic and in search of common ground. I did not agree with all of her opinions, but I admired her decency and unwavering devotion to the facts, to our country, to active citizenship and the common good.”

In 2018, O’Connor, who had retired over ten years prior, revealed that she would be stepping away from public activities due to dementia. She had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, making her the first female justice to serve on the Supreme Court.

During her lengthy tenure on the Supreme Court spanning over 20 years, O’Connor emerged as an influential and autonomous figure, occasionally aligning herself with the liberal faction and shaping numerous significant decisions of the court.

Despite initially holding personal reservations about abortion, O’Connor eventually authored majority judgments that supported the constitutional right to undergo the procedure.

O’Connor, who was born in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in Arizona, played a significant role in the court’s influential ruling supporting affirmative action in college admissions. She was also among the majority in the close 5-4 decision of Bush v. Gore, which resulted in George W. Bush becoming the president in 2000.

Prior to her time in Washington, she had served in various capacities across all three branches of Arizona’s government.

O’Connor is survived by her three sons, six grandchildren and a brother.

Maria Fox

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