Washington — Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, was honored at her funeral on Tuesday as a trailblazing jurist who served as a role model for millions by breaking down gender barriers for women across the legal profession.
Passed away in Phoenix on December 1st, 2016.
O’Connor served as the pivotal justice on the Supreme Court for over 20 years, with her retirement occurring at the age of 93 in 2006. During her time on the bench, she played a crucial role in many cases that had a significant impact on various aspects of American society.
Nine current Supreme Court justices and former Justice Anthony Kennedy attended the ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington on Tuesday. President Biden and Chief Justice John Roberts were among the speakers who paid tribute to the late justice.
overturn Roe and
Cease the use of race-based admission programs.
The main decision to overturn the constitutional protection of abortion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who took O’Connor’s place on the Supreme Court.
In 1930, O’Connor was born and raised on her family’s ranch in southeastern Arizona, known as the “Lazy B.” She earned her law degree from Stanford University, ranking third in her class, just two spots behind her future colleague on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
O’Connor met her husband, John Jay O’Connor, while in law school. He died in 2009 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Before joining the Supreme Court, O’Connor served in the Arizona State Senate and, upon becoming the chamber’s majority leader, was the first woman to serve in the role for any state senate. She began her career in the judiciary in 1974 when she was elected to the Maricopa County Superior Court and then was a judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals.
After serving on the Supreme Court for many years, O’Connor stepped down in 2006 at the age of 75 to care for her husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. However, she continued to be active in promoting civics education and started the organization iCivics in 2009.
In 2009, President Barack Obama recognized O’Connor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the most prestigious civilian award in the country. She passed away due to complications from advanced dementia and a respiratory ailment.