Biden praises Sandra Day O’Connor’s ‘civility’ at late justice’s funeral

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Biden praises Sandra Day O’Connor’s ‘civility’ at late justice’s funeral


WASHINGTON — President Biden eulogized the late Supreme Court docket Justice Sandra Day O’Connor‘s “want for civility” and “belief within the capability of human establishments to make life higher” at her funeral Tuesday — whereas recalling his presence on the first feminine justice’s 1981 affirmation listening to.

“Greater than 40 years in the past, on a Wednesday in September 1981, the Senate Judiciary Committee got here to order. I used to be the rating member of that committee. The day’s enterprise was the momentous nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to turn into the primary girl in American historical past to function a Supreme Court docket justice,” the 81-year-old president recalled.

“Asserting her nomination over that summer time, President [Ronald] Reagan described her as ‘an individual for all seasons.’ And it was an individual for all seasons we noticed at that listening to and that Individuals and the world would see by way of her extraordinary service as a justice.”

O’Connor, who was confirmed 99-0 by the total Senate, went on to turn into the courtroom’s deciding vote in additional than 300 circumstances — together with 2000’s Bush v. Gore, which ended Florida’s recount of presidential ballots and ensured Republican George W. Bush’s slim victory over Democrat Al Gore.

The previous justice died Dec. 1 on the age of 93.

President Biden delivers remarks in the course of the funeral service for retired Supreme Court docket Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Washington Nationwide Cathedral in Washington, DC, on December 19, 2023. REUTERS

“One needn’t agree with all of her choices in an effort to acknowledge that her ideas had been deeply held and of the very best order and that her want for civility was real and her belief within the capability of human establishments to make life higher is what this world was abiding,” Biden stated in an eight-minute deal with inside Washington’s Nationwide Cathedral, on whose governing board O’Connor served.

“How she embodied such attributes below such strain and scrutiny helped empower generations of ladies in each a part of American life.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, who was initially slated to be O’Connor’s successor, recalled that he was assigned to help O’Connor’s nomination as a younger Justice Division legal professional and stated that 25 years later, O’Connor quipped about his preliminary nomination to exchange her that “the one downside was I didn’t put on a skirt.”

Biden wiping his eyes on the memorial service. through REUTERS
Biden bows his head earlier than the casket of retired Supreme Court docket Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. REUTERS

“My preliminary response was, in fact, all the pieces’s negotiable,” Roberts added to laughter. “However thankfully, it didn’t come to that.”

Roberts finally served alongside O’Connor on the courtroom for 4 months when he was tapped by Bush to exchange the late chief justice, William Rehnquist.

“The final a number of weeks after Justice O’Connor’s passing, I’ve spoken with many ladies judges and legal professionals who had been younger adults when Justice O’Connor grew to become the primary,” the chief recounted. “They are saying the identical factor — youthful individuals as we speak can’t perceive what it was like earlier than Justice O’Connor, in what now appears a distant previous.

“That distance is a measure of time, but it surely’s additionally a measure of Justice O’Connor’s life and work. In practically a quarter-century on the courtroom, she was a powerful influential and iconic jurist. Her management formed the authorized career, making it apparent that judges are each ladies and men.”

Chief Justice John Roberts attends the funeral service as company stroll by her casket. REUTERS

Roberts added: “The time when ladies weren’t on the bench appears so distant, as a result of Justice O’Connor was so good when she was on the bench. She was so profitable that the limitations she broke down are virtually unthinkable as we speak, however not so in her lifetime.”

O’Connor was an Arizona appeals courtroom choose earlier than Reagan chosen her for the groundbreaking nomination. She is the latest justice to have served in elected workplace, as a Republican state senator from 1969 to 1975. In 1973, she grew to become the primary girl to function a state senate’s majority chief.

O’Connor introduced her retirement in 2005 to take care of her husband, John O’Connor, who died in 2009 of problems from Alzheimer’s illness.

She served greater than 24 years on the Supreme Court docket on the time she departed the bench in January 2006.


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