Subject: RE: Obit: Sandra Day O'Connor
Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Dec 23 - 11:05 AM
Sandra Day O’Connor, First Woman on the Supreme Court, Is Dead at 93
During a crucial period in American law — when abortion, affirmative action, sex discrimination and voting rights were on the docket — she was the most powerful woman in the country.
Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the United States Supreme Court, a rancher’s daughter who wielded great power over American law from her seat at the center of the court’s ideological spectrum, died on Friday in Phoenix. She was 93.
The Supreme Court announced her death in a statement, saying the cause was complications of dementia.
In a public letter she released in October 2018, when she was 88, the former justice, who had not been seen in public for some time, announced that she had been diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia, “probably Alzheimer’s disease,” and consequently was withdrawing from public life.
Although William H. Rehnquist, her Stanford Law School classmate, served as chief justice during much of her tenure, the Supreme Court during that crucial period was often called the O’Connor court, and Justice O’Connor was referred to, accurately, as the most powerful woman in America.
Very little could happen without Justice O’Connor’s support when it came to the polarizing issues on the court’s docket, and the law regarding affirmative action, abortion, voting rights, religion, federalism, sex discrimination and other hot-button subjects was basically what Sandra Day O’Connor thought it should be.
That the middle ground she looked for tended to be the public’s preferred place as well was no coincidence, given the close attention Justice O’Connor paid to current events and the public mood. “Rare indeed is the legal victory — in court or legislature — that is not a careful byproduct of an emerging social consensus,” she wrote in The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice, a collection of her essays published in 2003.
She had several books.