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First woman Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor dead at 93

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(The Center Square)– Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor died at 93 on Friday morning in Phoenix.

O’Connor died because of “complications” with dementia and “a respiratory illness,” according to the court’s news release. She was appointed to serve on the high court by late President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and she retired in 2006.

“A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a news release. “We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot.”

The former justice was born in Texas, but she spent much of her life in Arizona. In the 1960s she was the former Deputy Attorney General of Arizona before serving in the state Senate in 1969. She then served on the Maricopa County Superior Court and the Arizona Court of Appeals until she made her way to the Supreme Court, the news release states.

National and Arizona leaders reacted to her death by reflecting on her unique legacy.

“Justice Sandra Day O’Connor– Arizona’s original cowgirl– paved the way for countless women like me in law and life,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter. “She was fiercely independent just like Arizona, and she worked tirelessly to do what’s best for our state and country. Arizona and and America are grateful for her service and leadership.”

Former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey shared a photo of the pair together in his reflection.

“Ronald Reagan put it best when he called Justice O’Connor a ‘person for all seasons.’ Her life and career are a testament to hard work, determination, Western grit and the American dream,” Ducey tweeted. “From the Arizona Senate to the United States Supreme Court, she broke barriers and shattered any ceiling that stood in her way. Justice O’Connor was a force of nature, with a keen grasp on basic common sense. Her legacy must be remembered, and her life and lessons learned by every American child. Angela and I pray for her entire family. May she rest in peace.”

According to the news release, she left behind three children and six grandchildren. Her husband, John, died in 2009.

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