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“Remembering a Supreme: Current and Former Justices Pay Homage to Sandra O’Connor”

On Wednesday, members of the current and past Supreme Court paid tribute to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor—the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

O’Connor was regarded as a moderate conservative with a strong commitment to the Court’s processes and to building consensus among her colleagues. She retired in 2006. Shortly after her death on Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts released a statement praising her.

“Her judicial conservatism was founded on the rule of law, not on personal or political concerns,” Roberts wrote. “She never sought the spotlight, but instead was a master of cooperation and moderation. She was relentless in her pursuit of consensus-building, and will be remembered for her dedication tocountry and the Court.”

Current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was O’Connor’s closest ideological ally, expressed her deep grief for her late friend and colleague.

“The judiciary has lost a beloved member and the nation grieves with her family,” Ginsburg said. “Rick and I first met her when we were beginning our legal uniformed services careers, and we’ve remained friends ever since. Her courage, drive, and dedication never wavered through the years.”

Former justice David Souter, who served alongside O’Connor, said, “No one ever did more to promote civility and respect among judges on a court of appeals or a Supreme Court than Sandy did during her 24 years of service.”

In addition to her work on the Supreme Court, O’Connor also championed civility in public discourse and women’s rights. She dedicated her post-judicial career to these issues, leading multiple efforts to facilitate consensus building and to mentor potential young leaders across the country.

At the Supreme Court’s Wednesday briefing, the justices brought together a moment of silence in her honor. It’s evident that Justice O’Connor was a cornerstone of the Court during her time as a justice—and her legacy will live on.

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