Trailblazing Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Has Died At The Age Of 93
Her three sons have always been “so proud of what she has done, in her life and her career.”
Sandra Day O’Connor made history as the first woman to become a Supreme Court Justice back in 1981. When President Ronald Reagan nominated her to the bench, he called her a “person for all seasons, possessing those unique qualities of temperament, fairness, intellectual capacity, and devotion to the public good which have characterized the 101 brethren who have preceded her.” She was even more than that, of course. O’Connor, who died at the age of 93 on Dec. 1 due to “complications related to advanced dementia,” was also a mother of three sons who were proud of her until the end.
She married her Stanford classmate John Jay O’Connor in 1952.
Sandra Day O’Connor grew up on a remote ranch in Arizona, and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in a 2015 tribute to O’Connor, “she has shown time and time again that she is a true cowgirl,” per CNN. That cowgirl would eventually attend Stanford Law, where she met classmate John Jay O’Connor, who was one year behind her. The two went on to marry in 1952, and two years later John O’Connor was drafted and sent to Germany. As a new wife, she went with him, and worked as a civilian attorney before returning to the United States in 1956 to live and practice in Phoenix, Arizona. And to welcome the first of her three sons.
Scott O’Connor was born in 1958.
Sandra Day and John Jay O’Connor, who passed away in 2009, were both attorneys working in Phoenix when their oldest son Scott was born in 1958. Scott, like his younger brothers, was raised to be an active person by his mom. O’Connor’s three sons spoke to AZ Central about walking to and from school together, and taking up extracurricular activities like sports and musical instruments at the encouragement of their mom. Scott recalled to the outlet that their family home was an “activity center” for the other kids in the neighborhood, with their modest home boasting a trampoline and sport court to be used by everyone. “Bottom line, our parents liked to have fun,” he said. Scott O’Connor continues to live in Phoenix to this day.
Brian O’Connor was born in 1960.
The former Supreme Court Justice stepped away from her job as an attorney for five years after the birth of her second son Brian in 1960, but all three of her sons laughed at the idea that she took a “break.” In fact, she had so many volunteer commitments during that time that her sons recalled her saying, “the only way she’d be able to extricate herself from all of those other commitments was to actually go back to full-time work,” per AZ Central. Brian, like his older brother Scott, also lives in Phoenix.
Jay O’Connor was born in 1962.
The youngest member of the family, Jay, was born in 1962. Jay grew up and moved to California, but he always stayed close to his mother. Especially when she decided to share her dementia diagnosis in 2018. “This is a point of reflection for her and her family,” Jay told AZ Central at the time. “We are so proud of what she has done, in her life and her career.”
Her sons were proud of her. You can’t say any better than that.