Politics

First woman to serve on the US Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, dies aged 93

Washington, Dic 1 (EFE).- Former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the high court, died in Phoenix, Arizona, “from complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease, and respiratory illness,” the court said in a statement on Friday.

Appointed to the court by Republican President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), O’Connor served from 1981 until 2006, when she retired to care for her husband, who had Alzheimer’s disease.

Then-President George W. Bush (2001-2009) nominated Justice Samuel Alito, (who remains in office) to fill her seat.

In an ideologically divided court, her independence (albeit from a moderately conservative position) made her vote crucial in important cases and she was considered one of the most powerful women of her time.

As a legislator in the 70s O’connor worked towards changing legislation that discriminated against women.

She was also a pioneer in a nine-member Supreme Court that has seen only six female justices in the history of the US.

Justice O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court on Jan. 31, 2006. She remained active as an advocate for judicial independence and the rule of law around the world.

Throughout this time, she focused her work on the organization she founded, iCivics, which aims to increase civic knowledge and engagement, particularly to help all US citizens understand the Constitution.

This was until October 2018, when she announced that she was suffering from dementia and had decided to step down from public life.

Recognising her life’s work, President Barack Obama (2009-2017) awarded Justice O’Connor the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Aug. 12, 2009.

The Stanford University law graduate’s most famous rulings include her vote in “Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” a 1992 opinion that reaffirmed women’s right to abortion.

Or a 2004 ruling against the George W. Bush administration’s post-9/11 detainee policy, in which he argued that “a state of war is not a blank cheque.” EFE

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