Justice O'Connor to be commemorated at National Cathedral service


Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court and a swing vote on some of the most hot-button issues facing the country, is expected to be honored at Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday.

President Biden and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. are among those who will deliver eulogies at the funeral of the justice, who, as the ideological center of the court, wielded considerable power during her tenure.

Justice O'Connor, who died this month from complications of dementia at age 93, was baptized into the Episcopal Church, worshiped regularly at the National Cathedral and had served on its board of directors.

The service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET on the second day of ceremonies in Washington, where the judge served for 24 years before retiring in 2006.

On Monday, he lay in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court, while his former law clerks took turns guarding his coffin.

The current justices, along with retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, attended a private service at the courthouse, along with the judge's family and clerks.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the third justice, spoke of Justice O'Connor's commitment to creating an atmosphere of collegiality on the court, adding that she believed Justice O'Connor would be “smiling, knowing that four sisters serve” on the committee of nine members. court.

The Rev. Jane E. Fahey, one of Judge O'Connor's first clerks in the 1980s, remembered her for “her cowgirl courage, her energy, and her no-nonsense sense of duty.”

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, arrived later to pay their respects.

Judge O'Connor, the daughter of an Arizona rancher, spent a colorful childhood in the Lazy B, where her family raised cattle in the high desert along the Arizona and New Mexico border.

She joined the Supreme Court in 1981. Fulfilling a campaign promise to appoint the first woman to the court, President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice O'Connor, who at the time was an appeals court judge in Arizona.

She announced her retirement because her husband, whom she met when they were both students at Stanford Law School, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease years earlier.

During his retirement, justice focused on two causes, judicial independence and civic education. He also traveled with his grandchildren and wrote two children's books based on his childhood on a ranch.

In October 2018, he announced that he had been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and would be retiring from public life.

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