From Arizona cowgirl to supreme court, female icon reflects on end things

US Justice Sandra Day O'Connor disclose Dementia diagnoses, and offers some parting thoughts as she leaves public life for good.


Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote a public letter, explaining ‘I hope that I have inspired young people about civic engagement and helped pave the pathway for women who may have faced obstacles pursuing their careers.’

First woman

Justice O’Connor, now aged 88, the first woman to serve on the US Supreme Court, has been diagnosed with early stage dementia. She retired from the Supreme Court 12 years ago and said she is no longer able to participate in public life.  Justice O’Connor wrote, ‘since many people have asked about my current status and activities, I want to be open about these changes, and while I am still able, share some personal thoughts.’ She explained, ‘I feel so strongly about the topic because I’ve seen first-hand how vital it is for all citizens to understand our Constitution and unique system of government, and participate actively in their communities. Justice O’Connor said, ‘it is through this shared understanding of who we are that we can follow the approaches that have served us best over time, working collaboratively together in communities and in government to solve problems, putting country and the common good above party and self-interest, and holding our key governmental institutions accountable.’

Arizona cowgirl

Justice O’Connor began iCivics, an online program for middle and high school students to access free interactive games and curriculum, eight years ago and now reaches half the youth in the country. Howveer, she wrote, she can no longer lead the civics effort ‘it is my great hope that our nation will commit to educating our youth about civics, and to helping young people understand their crucial role as informed, active citizens in our nation.’ She reflected, ‘as a young cowgirl from the Arizona desert, I never could have imagined that one day I would become the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.’

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