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"The Honorable
Sandra Day O'Connor
""Sandra Day O'Connor.jpg
23rd "Chancellor of the College of William and Mary
In office
October 4, 2005 – February 3, 2012
President "Gene Nichol
"Taylor Reveley
Preceded by "Henry Kissinger
Succeeded by "Robert Gates
"Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
September 25, 1981 [1][2] – January 31, 2006
Nominated by "Ronald Reagan
Preceded by "Potter Stewart
Succeeded by "Samuel Alito
Judge of the "Arizona Court of Appeals for Division One
In office
December 1979 – September 25, 1981
Nominated by "Bruce Babbitt
Preceded by "Mary Schroeder
Succeeded by "Sarah D. Grant[3]
Judge of the "Maricopa County Superior Court for Division 31
In office
January 1975 – December 1979
Preceded by David J. Perry
Succeeded by Cecil B. Patterson Jr.[4]
Member of the "Arizona Senate
from the 24th district
In office
January 8, 1973 – January 13, 1975
Preceded by "Howard S. Baldwin
Succeeded by "John Pritzlaff
Member of the "Arizona Senate
from the 20th district
In office
January 11, 1971 – January 8, 1973
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by "Bess Stinson
Member of the "Arizona Senate
from the 8-E district
In office
October 30, 1969 – January 11, 1971
Preceded by "Isabel Burgess
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born Sandra Day
(1930-03-26) March 26, 1930 (age 87)
"El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political party "Republican
Spouse(s) "John O'Connor (1952–2009 [his death])
Children 3
Education "Stanford University ("BA, "LLB)
Signature ""

Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is a retired "associate justice of the "Supreme Court of the United States serving from her appointment in 1981 by "Ronald Reagan until her retirement in 2006. She was the first woman to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.[5]

Prior to O'Connor's tenure on the Court, she was an elected official and judge in "Arizona serving as the first female Majority Leader of a state senate as the Republican leader in the "Arizona Senate.[6] Upon her nomination to the Court, O'Connor was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of a successor.[7] "Samuel Alito was nominated to take her seat in October 2005, and joined the Court on January 31, 2006.

Considered a "federalist and a "moderate Republican, O'Connor tended to approach each case narrowly without arguing for sweeping precedents. She most frequently sided with the court's conservative bloc, although in the latter years of her tenure, she was regarded as having the "swing opinion in many cases. She often wrote concurring opinions that limited the reach of the majority holding. Her majority opinions in landmark cases include "Grutter v. Bollinger and "Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. She also wrote in part the "per curiam majority opinions in "Planned Parenthood v. Casey and "Bush v. Gore.

O'Connor was Chancellor of "The College of William & Mary in "Williamsburg, Virginia, and served on the "board of trustees of the "National Constitution Center in "Philadelphia, "Pennsylvania. She also served on the Board of Trustees for Colonial Williamsburg. Several publications have named O'Connor among the most powerful women in the world.[8][9] On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the "Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President "Barack Obama.

Contents

Early life and education[edit]

She was born in "El Paso, "Texas, the daughter of Harry Alfred Day, a "rancher, and Ada Mae (Wilkey).[10] Her sister was "Ann Day, who served in the "Arizona Legislature.[11] She grew up on a "cattle ranch near "Duncan, Arizona.[12] The ranch was 9 miles from the nearest paved road.[13] She hunted from a young age, using a .22-caliber rifle to shoot jackrabbits for food.[13] She began driving as soon as she could see over the dashboard and had to learn to change automobile flat tires herself.[12][13] She later wrote a book with her brother, H. Alan Day, Lazy B : Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American West (2002), about her childhood experiences on the ranch.

For most of her early schooling, O'Connor lived in El Paso with her "maternal grandmother, and attended school at the Radford School for Girls, a private school. She graduated sixth in her class at "Austin High School in "El Paso in 1946.[14] She attended "Stanford University[15] where she received her B.A. in economics in 1950. She continued at the "Stanford Law School for her "LL.B.. There, she served on the "Stanford Law Review with its presiding editor-in-chief, future "Supreme Court Chief Justice "William Rehnquist, who was the class "valedictorian[16] and whom she briefly dated during law school.[17] She has stated that she graduated third in her law school class,[18] though Stanford's official position is that the law school did not rank students in 1952.[19]

Early career and marriage[edit]

On December 20, 1952, six months after graduating from law school, she married "John Jay O'Connor III. The pair had met as students at Stanford Law School.[13]

After graduation from law school, at least forty law firms refused to interview her for a position as an attorney because she was a woman.[20] She eventually found employment as a deputy county attorney in "San Mateo, California after she offered to work for no salary and without an office, sharing space with a secretary.[20]

When her husband was drafted, she decided to pick up and leave with him to work in Germany as a civilian attorney for the Army's Quartermaster Corps.[21] They remained there for three years before returning to the states where they settled in Maricopa County, Arizona to begin their family. They had three sons: Scott, Brian, and Jay.[22]

She volunteered in various political organizations like the Maricopa County Young Republicans and served on the presidential campaign for Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater.[23]

O'Connor served as assistant "Attorney General of Arizona from 1965 to 1969 until she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the "Arizona State Senate. She ran for and won the election for the seat the following year.[24] By 1973, she became the first woman to serve as Arizona's or any state's Majority Leader.[25][24] She developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and a moderate. After serving two full terms, O'Connor decided to leave the Senate.[24]

In 1974, she was elected to the Maricopa County Superior Court[26] serving from 1975 to 1979 when she was elevated to the Arizona State Court of Appeals. She served on the Court of Appeals-Division One until 1981 when she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan.[27]

Supreme Court career[edit]

Appointment[edit]

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Supreme Court Justice-nominee Sandra Day O'Connor talks with President "Ronald Reagan outside the "White House, July 15, 1981.

On July 7, 1981, Reagan – who had pledged during his "1980 presidential campaign to appoint the first woman to the Court[28] – announced he would nominate O'Connor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to replace the retiring "Potter Stewart.[29] O'Connor received notification from President Reagan of her nomination on the day prior to the announcement and did not know that she was a finalist for the position.[20]

Reagan wrote in his diary on July 6, 1981: "Called Judge O'Connor and told her she was my nominee for supreme court. Already the flak is starting and from my own supporters. Right to Life people say she is pro abortion. She declares abortion is personally repugnant to her. I think she'll make a good justice."[30] O'Connor told Reagan she did not remember whether she had supported the view of repealing Arizona's law banning abortion.[31] However, she had cast a preliminary vote in the Arizona State Senate in 1970 in favor of a bill to repeal the state's criminal-abortion statute.[32] In 1974, O'Connor had opined against a measure to prohibit abortions in some Arizona hospitals.[32] "Pro-life and "religious groups opposed O'Connor's nomination because they suspected, correctly, she would not be willing to overturn "Roe v Wade.[33] U.S. Senate Republicans, including "Don Nickles of "Oklahoma, "Steve Symms of "Idaho, and "Jesse Helms of "North Carolina called the "White House to express their discontent over the nomination; Nickles said he and "other profamily Republican senators would not support" O'Connor.[33] Helms, Nickles, and Symms nevertheless voted for confirmation.[34]

Reagan formally nominated O'Connor on August 19, 1981.[35]

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O'Connor being sworn in by Chief Justice "Warren Burger

Conservative activists such as the Reverend "Jerry Falwell, "Howard Phillips, and Peter Gemma, also spoke out against the nomination. Gemma called the nomination "a direct contradiction of the Republican "platform to everything that candidate Reagan said and even President Reagan has said in regard to social issues."[36] Gemma, the executive director of the "National Pro-Life Political Action Committee, had sought to delay O'Connor's confirmation by challenging her record, including support for the "Equal Rights Amendment.[37]

O'Connor's confirmation hearing before the "Senate Judiciary Committee began on September 9, 1981.[38] The confirmation hearing lasted three days and largely focused on the issue of abortion.[39] When asked, O'Connor refused to telegraph her views on abortion, and she was careful not to leave the impression that she supported "abortion rights.[40] The Judiciary Committee approved O'Connor with seventeen votes in favor and one vote of present.[39]

On September 21, O'Connor was confirmed by the "U.S. Senate with a vote of 99–0;[29][41] Senator "Max Baucus of Montana was absent from the vote, and sent O'Connor a copy of "A River Runs Through It by way of apology.[42] In her first year on the Court she received over 60,000 letters from the public, more than any other justice in history.[43]

Supreme Court jurisprudence[edit]

Voting record and deciding votes[edit]

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Justice O'Connor presents "Alberto Gonzales to the audience after swearing him in as "U.S. Attorney General, as Mrs. Becky Gonzales looks on.

O'Connor was part of the "federalism movement and approached each case as narrowly as possible,["citation needed] avoiding generalizations that might later "paint her into a corner" for future cases.["citation needed] Initially, her voting record aligned closely with the conservative "William Rehnquist (voting with him 87% of the time her first three years at the Court).[44] From that time until 1998 O'Connor's alignment with Rehnquist ranged from 93.4% to 63.2%, hitting above 90% in three of those years.[45] In nine of her first sixteen years on the Court, O'Connor voted with Rehnquist more than with any other justice.[45]

Later on, as the Court's make-up became more conservative (e.g., "Anthony Kennedy replacing "Lewis Powell, and "Clarence Thomas replacing "Thurgood Marshall), O'Connor often became the "swing vote on the Court. However, she usually disappointed the Court's more liberal bloc in contentious 5–4 decisions: from 1994 to 2004, she joined the traditional conservative bloc of Rehnquist, "Antonin Scalia, "Anthony Kennedy, and Thomas 82 times; she joined the liberal bloc of "John Paul Stevens, "David Souter, Ginsburg, and "Stephen Breyer only 28 times.[46]

O'Connor's relatively small[47] shift away from conservatives on the Court seems to have been due at least in part to Thomas's views.[48] When Thomas and O'Connor were voting on the same side, she would typically write a separate opinion of her own, refusing to join his.[49] In the 1992 term, O'Connor did not join a single one of Thomas' dissents.[50]

"Willamette University College of Law Professor Steven Green, who served for nine years as general counsel for "Americans United for Separation of Church and State and has argued before the Court numerous times stated, "She was a moderating voice on the court and was very hesitant to expand the law in either direction." Green also noted that, unlike some other Court justices, O'Connor "[s]eemed to look at each case with an open mind".[51]

Some of the cases in which O'Connor was the deciding vote include:

"McConnell v. FEC, "540 "U.S. 93 (2003)
This ruling upheld the constitutionality of most of the "McCain-Feingold campaign-finance bill regulating ""soft money" contributions.
"Grutter v. Bollinger, "539 "U.S. 306 (2003) and "Gratz v. Bollinger, "539 "U.S. 244 (2003)
O'Connor wrote the opinion of the court in Grutter and joined the majority in Gratz. In this pair of cases, the "University of Michigan's undergraduate admissions program was held to have engaged in unconstitutional "reverse discrimination, but the more-limited type of "affirmative action in the "University of Michigan Law School's admissions program was held to have been constitutional.
"Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, "536 "U.S. 639 (2002)
O'Connor joined the majority holding that the use of school vouchers for religious schools did not violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.
"Bush v. Gore, "531 "U.S. 98 (2000)
O'Connor joined with four other justices on December 12, 2000, to rule on the Bush v. Gore case that ceased challenges to the results of the "2000 presidential election (ruling to stop the ongoing "Florida election recount and to allow no further recounts). This case effectively ended Gore's hopes to become president. Some legal scholars have argued that she should have recused herself from this case, citing several reports that she became upset when the media initially announced that Gore had won Florida, with her husband explaining that they would have to wait another four years before retiring to Arizona.[52]

O'Connor played an important role in other notable cases, such as:

"Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, "492 "U.S. 490 (1989)
This decision upheld as constitutional state restrictions on second trimester abortions that are not necessary to protect maternal health, contrary to the original trimester requirements in "Roe v. Wade. Although O'Connor joined the majority, which also included Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy and "Byron White, in a concurring opinion she refused to explicitly overturn Roe.

On February 22, 2005 with Rehnquist and Stevens (who were senior to her) absent, she became the senior justice presiding over oral arguments in the case of "Kelo v. City of New London and becoming the first woman to do so before the Court.["citation needed]

First Amendment[edit]

Sandra Day O’Connor was unpredictable in many of her court decisions, especially those regarding "First Amendment "Establishment Cause issues. This might be due to the fact that instead of letting herself be guided by her conservative ideologies, she decided on a case-by-case basis and voted with careful deliberation in a way that she felt benefited individual rights and the Constitution (which she viewed to be “an ever changing work in progress.”) Barry Lynn, executive director of "Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, “O’Connor was a conservative, but she saw the complexity of church-state issues and tried to choose a course that respected the country’s religious diversity” (Hudson 2005). O’Connor voted in favor of religious institutions,["clarification needed] such as in "Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, "Mitchell v. Helms, and "Rosenberger v. University of Virginia. Conversly, in Lee v. Weisman she was part of the majority in the case that saw religious prayer and pressure to stand in silence at a graduation ceremony as part of a religious act that coerced people to support/participate in religion, which is strictly prohibited by the Establishment Clause. This is consistent with a similar case, Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, involving prayer at a school football game. In this case O’Connor joined the majority opinion that stated prayer at school football games violates the Establishment Clause (Oyez, 2016). O'Connor was the first justice to articulate the "no endorsement" standard for the Establishment Clause.[53] In "Lynch v. Donnelly, O'Connor wrote for a 5-4 majority that a nativity scene in a public Christmas display did not violate the First Amendment because it was not expressing an endorsement or disapproval of any religion.[53]

Fourth Amendment[edit]

According to "George Washington University law professor "Jeffrey Rosen, "O'Connor was an eloquent opponent of intrusive group searches that threatened privacy without increasing security. In a "1983 opinion upholding searches by drug-sniffing dogs, she recognized that a search is most likely to be considered "constitutionally reasonable if it is very effective at discovering contraband without revealing innocent but embarrassing information."[54] "Washington College of Law law professor Andrew Taslitz, referencing O'Connor's "dissent in a "2001 case, said of her "Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: "O'Connor recognizes that needless humiliation of an individual is an important factor in determining Fourth Amendment reasonableness."[55] O'Connor once quoted the social contract theory of John Locke as influencing her views on the reasonableness and constitutionality of government action.[56]

Cases involving race[edit]

In the 1990 and 1995 "Missouri v. Jenkins rulings, O'Connor voted with the majority that district courts had no authority to require the state of "Missouri to increase school funding in order to counteract racial inequality. In the 1991 Freeman v. Pitts case, O'Connor joined a concurring opinion in a plurality, agreeing that a school district that had formerly been under judicial review for "racial segregation could be freed of this review, even though not all desegregation targets had been met. Law professor Herman Schwartz criticized these rulings, writing that in both cases "both the fact and effects of segregation were still present."[57]

In 1987's "McCleskey v. Kemp, O'Connor joined a 5–4 majority that voted to uphold the death penalty for an African American man, Warren McCleskey, convicted of killing a white police officer, despite statistical evidence that black defendants were more likely to receive the death penalty than others both in "Georgia and in the U.S. as a whole.[57][58][59]

In 1996's Shaw v. Hunt and "Shaw v. Reno, O'Connor joined a Rehnquist opinion, following an earlier precedent from an opinion she authored in 1993, in which the court struck down an electoral districting plan designed to facilitate the election of two black representatives out of twelve from North Carolina, a state that had not had any black representative since Reconstruction, despite being approximately 20% black[57]—the Court held that the districts were unacceptably "gerrymandered and O'Connor called the odd shape of the district in question, North Carolina's 12th, "bizarre".

Law Professor Herman Schwartz called O'Connor "the Court’s leader in its assault on racially oriented "affirmative action,"[57] although she joined with the Court in upholding the constitutionality of race-based admissions to universities.[28]

In late 2008, O'Connor said she believed racial affirmative action should continue to help heal the inequalities created by racial discrimination. She stressed this would not be a cure-all but rather a bandage and that society has to do much more to correct our racial imbalance. In 2003 Justice O'Connor authored a majority Supreme Court opinion ("Grutter v. Bollinger) saying racial affirmative action wouldn't be constitutional permanently but long enough to correct past discrimination ─ an approximation limit of around 25 years, or until 2028.[60]

Abortion[edit]

In her confirmation hearings and early days on the court, O'Connor was carefully ambiguous on the issue of abortion, as some conservatives questioned her pro-life credentials on the basis of some of her votes in the Arizona legislature.[33] O'Connor generally dissented from 1980s opinions which took an expansive view of "Roe v. Wade; she criticized that decision's "trimester approach" sharply in her dissent in 1983's City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health. She criticized Roe in "Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "... I dispute not only the wisdom but also the legitimacy of the Court's attempt to discredit and pre-empt state abortion regulation regardless of the interests it serves and the impact it has."[61] In 1989, O'Connor stated during the deliberations over the Webster case that she would not overrule Roe.[62] While on the Court, O'Connor did not vote to strike down any restrictions on abortion until "Hodgson v. Minnesota in 1990.[63]

O'Connor allowed certain limits to be placed on access to abortion, but supported the fundamental right to abortion protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In "Planned Parenthood v. Casey, O'Connor used a test she had originally developed in "City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health to limit the holding of "Roe v. Wade, opening up a legislative portal where a State could enact measures so long as they did not place an "undue burden" on a woman's right to an abortion. Casey revised downward the standard of scrutiny federal courts would apply to state abortion restrictions, a major departure from Roe. However it preserved Roe's core constitutional precept: that the Fourteenth Amendment implies and protects a fundamental right to control the outcomes of one's reproductive actions. Writing the plurality opinion for the Court, O'Connor, along with Justices Kennedy and Souter, famously declared: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.”[64]

Foreign law[edit]

O'Connor was a vigorous defender of the citing of foreign laws in judicial decisions.[65] In a well-publicized October 28, 2003, speech at the "Southern Center for International Studies, O'Connor said:

The impressions we create in this world are important and can leave their mark ... [T]here is talk today about the "internationalization of legal relations". We are already seeing this in American courts, and should see it increasingly in the future. This does not mean, of course, that our courts can or should abandon their character as domestic institutions. But conclusions reached by other countries and by the international community, although not formally binding upon our decisions, should at times constitute persuasive authority in American courts—what is sometimes called "transjudicialism".[66]

In the speech she noted the 2002 Court case, "Atkins v. Virginia, in which the majority decision (which included her) cited disapproval of the death penalty in Europe as part of its argument. This speech, and the general concept of relying on foreign law and opinion, was widely criticized by conservatives.[67] In May 2004, the "U.S. House of Representatives responded by passing a non-binding resolution, the "Reaffirmation of American Independence Resolution", stating that "U.S. judicial decisions should not be based on any foreign laws, court decisions, or pronouncements of foreign governments unless they are relevant to determining the meaning of American constitutional and statutory law."[68]

O'Connor once quoted the constitution of the Middle Eastern nation of "Bahrain, which states that "[n]o authority shall prevail over the judgement of a judge, and under no circumstances may the course of justice be interfered with." Further, "[i]t is in everyone's interest to foster the rule-of-law evolution." O'Connor proposed that such ideas be taught in American law schools, high schools and universities. Critics contend that such thinking is contrary to the "U.S. Constitution and establishes a rule of man, rather than law.[66] In her retirement, she has continued to speak and organize conferences on the issue of judicial independence.

Commentary and analysis[edit]

O'Connor's case-by-case approach routinely placed her in the center of the court and drew both criticism and praise. "The Washington Post columnist "Charles Krauthammer for instance described her as lacking a judicial philosophy and instead displaying "political positioning embedded in a social agenda".[69] Conservative commentator, "Ramesh Ponnuru, wrote that, even though O'Connor "has voted reasonably well", her tendency to issue very case-specific rulings "undermines the predictability of the law and aggrandizes the judicial role".[70]

Response to being first woman on the Supreme Court[edit]

O'Connor has said she felt a responsibility to demonstrate women could do the job of justice.[20] She faced some practical concerns, including the lack of a woman's restroom near the courtroom.[20]

Two years after O'Connor joined the Court, "The New York Times published an editorial which mentioned the "nine men"[71] of the "SCOTUS", or Supreme Court of the United States.[71] O'Connor responded with a letter to the editor reminding the Times that the Court was no longer composed of nine men and referred to herself as FWOTSC (First Woman On The Supreme Court).[72]

In several speeches broadcast nationally on the cable network "C-SPAN, she mentioned feeling some relief from the media clamor when "Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined her as an Associate Justice of the Court in 1993.["citation needed] In May 2010, O'Connor warned female Supreme Court nominee "Elena Kagan about the "unpleasant" process of confirmation hearings.[73]

Retirement[edit]

O'Connor was successfully treated for breast cancer in 1988 (she also had her "appendix removed that year).[74]

On December 12, 2000, "The Wall Street Journal reported that O'Connor was reluctant to retire with a Democrat in the presidency: "At an Election Night party at the Washington, D.C. home of Mary Ann Stoessel, widow of former Ambassador "Walter Stoessel, the justice's husband, John O'Connor, mentioned to others her desire to step down, according to three witnesses. But Mr. O'Connor said his wife would be reluctant to retire if a Democrat were in the White House and would choose her replacement. Justice O'Connor declined to comment."[75]

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Justice O'Connor and her husband John O'Connor with President "George W. Bush in May 2004.
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Justice O'Connor's letter to Bush, dated July 1, 2005, announcing her retirement

By 2005, the membership of the Court had been static for eleven years, the second-longest period without a change in the Court's composition in American history. Rehnquist was widely expected to be the first justice to retire during Bush's term, because of his age and his battle with cancer. However, on July 1, 2005, it was O'Connor who announced her retirement plans. In her letter to Bush she stated that her retirement from active service would take effect upon the confirmation of her successor.

On July 19, Bush nominated "D.C. Circuit Judge "John G. Roberts, Jr. to succeed O'Connor. O'Connor heard the news over the car radio on the way back from a fishing trip.["citation needed] She felt he was an excellent and highly qualified choice — he had argued "numerous cases before the Court during her tenure.["citation needed] However, she was terribly disappointed her replacement was not a woman.[76]

O'Connor had been expected to leave the Court before the next term started on October 3, 2005. However, Rehnquist died on September 3 (she spoke at his funeral). Two days later, Bush withdrew Roberts as his nominee for her seat and instead appointed him to fill the vacant office of Chief Justice. O'Connor agreed to stay on the Court until her replacement was confirmed. On October 3, Bush nominated "White House Counsel "Harriet Miers to replace O'Connor. After much "criticism and controversy over her nomination, on October 27, Miers asked Bush to withdraw her nomination. Bush accepted her request later the same day. On October 31, Bush nominated "Third Circuit Judge "Samuel Alito to replace O'Connor; Alito was confirmed and sworn in on January 31, 2006.

O'Connor's last Court opinion, "Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New England, written for a unanimous court, was a procedural decision that involved a challenge to a New Hampshire abortion law.

She stated that she planned to travel, spend time with family, and, because of her fear of the attacks on judges by legislators, would work with the "American Bar Association on a commission to help explain the separation of powers and the role of judges. She also announced that she was working on a new book, which will focus on the early history of the Court. She is a trustee on the board of the "Rockefeller Foundation. She stated that she would have preferred to stay on the Court for several more years but stepped down to spend more time with her husband, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease prior to his death in 2009. O'Connor said it was her plan to follow the tradition of previous justices, who enjoy lifetime appointments. "Most of them get ill and are really in bad shape, which I would've done at the end of the day myself, I suppose, except my husband was ill and I needed to take action there."'[77]

Since retiring, she has continued to hear cases and rendered over a dozen opinions in federal appellate courts across the country, filling in as a substitute judge when vacations or vacancies leave their three-member panels understaffed.[78]

O'Connor has reflected on her time on the Supreme Court by saying that she regrets the court hearing the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 because it "stirred up the public" and "gave the court a less-than-perfect reputation." The former justice told the Chicago Tribune that "Maybe the court should have said, 'We’re not going to take it, goodbye,’...It turned out the election authorities in Florida hadn’t done a real good job there and kind of messed it up. And probably the Supreme Court added to the problem at the end of the day.”[79][80][81]

Post-Supreme Court career[edit]

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O'Connor in 2008 with then "Harvard Law School Dean "Elena Kagan. Kagan is the fourth female Justice on the Court.

Commentary[edit]

During a March 2006 speech at "Georgetown University, O'Connor said some political attacks on the independence of the courts pose a direct threat to the constitutional freedoms of Americans. She said "any reform of the system is debatable as long as it is not motivated by 'nakedly partisan reasoning' retaliation because congressmen or senators dislike the result of the cases. Courts interpret the law as it was written, not as the congressmen might have wished it was written", and "it takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."[82] She echoed her concerns for an independent judiciary during the "dedication address at the "Elon University School of Law in September of that same year.

On November 19, 2008, O'Connor published an introductory essay to a themed issue on judicial accountability in the Denver University Law Review. She calls for a better public understanding of judicial accountability.[83] On November 7, 2007, at a conference on her landmark opinion in "Strickland v. Washington (1984) sponsored by the "Constitution Project, O'Connor urged the creation of a system for "merit selection for judges". She also highlighted the lack of proper legal representation for many of the poorest defendants.[84]

On August 7, 2008, O'Connor and "Abdurrahman Wahid, former "President of Indonesia, wrote an editorial in the "Financial Times stating concerns about the threatened imprisonment of "Malaysian opposition leader "Anwar Ibrahim.[85]

Following the Court's "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision on corporate political spending, O'Connor offered measured criticism of the decision, telling Georgetown law students and lawyers, "that the court has created an unwelcome new path for wealthy interests to exert influence on judicial elections."[86]

O'Connor argued in favor of President "Barack Obama naming the replacement for "Antonin Scalia in February 2016, mere days after Scalia's death, opposing Republican arguments that the next president should get to fill the vacancy. She said, "I think we need somebody there to do the job now and let's get on with it"; and that "[y]ou just have to pick the best person you can under the circumstances, as the appointing authority must do. It's an important position and one that we care about as a nation and as a people. And I wish the president well as he makes choices and goes down that line. It's hard."[87]

Judge "William H. Pryor, Jr., a conservative jurist, has criticized O'Connor's speeches and op-eds for hyperbole and factual inaccuracy, based in part on O'Connor's opinions as to whether judges face a rougher time in the public eye today than in the past.[88][89]

Activities and memberships[edit]

As a Retired Supreme Court Justice (roughly equivalent to "senior status for judges of lower federal courts), O'Connor has continued to receive a full salary, maintain a staffed office with at least one "law clerk, and to hear cases on a part-time basis in federal "district courts and "courts of appeals as a "visiting judge.

In 2003, she wrote a book titled The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice ("ISBN "0-375-50925-9).

On October 4, 2005, President "Gene Nichol of the "College of William & Mary announced that O'Connor had accepted[90] the largely ceremonial role of becoming the 23rd Chancellor of the College, replacing "Henry Kissinger, and following in the position held by "Margaret Thatcher, Chief Justice "Warren Burger, and President "George Washington. The Investiture Ceremony was held April 7, 2006. O'Connor continued to make semi-regular visits to the college until she was succeeded in that post by former Secretary of Defense "Robert Gates.[91]

In 2005, she wrote a children's book, Chico ("ISBN "0-525-47452-8), which gives an autobiographical description of her childhood.

O'Connor was a member of the 2006 "Iraq Study Group, appointed by the U.S. Congress.[92]

On May 15, 2006, O'Connor gave the commencement address at the "William & Mary School of Law, where she said that judicial independence is "under serious attack at both the state and national level".[93]

As of Spring 2006, O'Connor teaches a two-week course called "The Supreme Court" at the "University of Arizona's "James E. Rogers College of Law every spring semester.

In October 2006, O'Connor sat as a member of panels of the "United States Courts of Appeals for the "Second, "Eighth, and "Ninth Circuits, to hear arguments in one-day's cases in each court.[94]

O'Connor chaired the "Jamestown 2007 celebration, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the colony at "Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Her appearances in Jamestown dovetailed with her appearances and speeches as chancellor at The College of William & Mary nearby. In the fall of 2007, O'Connor and "W. Scott Bales taught a course at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at "Arizona State University.

In 2008, O'Connor was named an inaugural Harry Rathbun Visiting Fellow by the Office for Religious Life at "Stanford University. On April 22, 2008, she gave "Harry's Last Lecture on a Meaningful Life" in honor of the former Stanford Law professor who shaped her undergraduate and law careers.[95]

In 2009, O'Connor founded the 501(c)3 non-profit organization, O'Connor House, dedicated to solving complex issues through civil discourse and collaborative action.

In February 2009, O'Connor launched Our Courts, a website she created to offer interactive "civics lessons to students and teachers because she was concerned about the lack of knowledge among most young Americans about how their government works. She also serves as a co-chair with "Lee H. Hamilton for the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.[96] On March 3, 2009, O'Connor appeared on the "satirical television program "The Daily Show with "Jon Stewart to promote the website. In August 2009, http://ourcourts.org/ added two online interactive games.[97] The initiative expanded, becoming "iCivics in May 2010, and continues to offer free lessons plans, games, and interactive videogames for middle and high school educators.[98] During the inauguration of Mesa Municipal Court on April 16, 2010, she gracefully received a blessed garland – along with a copy of "Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is[99] from Dr. Prayag Narayan Misra – a Hare Krishna devotee.[100]

""
""
The four women who have served on the Court (from left to right: O'Connor and Justices "Sonia Sotomayor, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and "Elena Kagan) on October 1, 2010, prior to Justice Kagan's Investiture Ceremony.

She currently["when?] serves on the Board of Trustees of the "National Constitution Center in "Philadelphia, which is a museum dedicated to the "U.S. Constitution.[101]

She wrote the 2013 book Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court.[102]

In April 2013, the Board of Directors of "Justice at Stake, a national judicial reform advocacy organization, announced that O'Connor would be joining the organization as Honorary Chair.”[103]

On September 17, 2014 O'Connor appeared on the television show "Jeopardy! and provided a couple of video answers to the category 'Supreme Court' which appeared on the show. On the same day in "Concord, New Hampshire, she gave a talk alongside her former colleague "Justice David Souter about the importance of meaningful civics education in the United States.[104]

In March 2015, O'Connor's non-profit organization, O'Connor House, became the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute. The Institute's focus is to create an environment where important policy decisions are made through a process of civil discussion, critical analysis of facts and informed participation of all citizens. O'Connor serves as Founder and Advisor to the O'Connor Institute.

O'Connor is the Co-Chair of the National Advisory Board at the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD). The institute was created at the University of Arizona after the tragic shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, that killed 6 people and wounded 13 others.

Personal life[edit]

Her husband suffered from "Alzheimer's disease for nearly twenty years until his death in 2009,[22] and she has become involved in raising awareness of the disease. After retiring from the Court, O'Connor moved to Phoenix, Arizona.[13]

Legacy and awards[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx#SOConnor
  2. ^ The date a Member of the Court took his/her Judicial oath (the Judiciary Act provided “That the Justices of the Supreme Court, and the district judges, before they proceed to execute the duties of their respective offices, shall take the following oath . . . ”) is here used as the date of the beginning of his/her service, for until that oath is taken he/she is not vested with the prerogatives of the office." Source:https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/members_text.aspx
  3. ^ http://www.azcourts.gov/coa1/Former-Judges
  4. ^ https://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/LawLibrary/docs/PDF/Judges/SuperiorCourtJudgesrev4.pdf
  5. ^ Weisman, Steven R. (July 7, 1981). "Reagan Nominating Woman, an Arizona Appeals Judge, to Serve on Supreme Court". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2009. 
  6. ^ "O'Connor, Sandra Day". "Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on March 6, 2004. Retrieved March 21, 2006. 
  7. ^ Stevenson, R. W. (July 1, 2005) O'Connor, First Woman Supreme Court Justice, Resigns After 24 Years, The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2005
  8. ^ McCaslin, John (November 7, 2001). "Power Women". McCaslin's Beltway Beat. Washington, D.C.: "Townhall.com. Retrieved June 15, 2009. ... "Ladies' Home Journal, ... ranks the 30 Most Powerful Women based on cultural clout, financial impact, achievement, visibility, influence, intellect, political know-how and staying power. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton ranks 5th on the list behind Miss Winfrey, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Martha Stewart and Barbara Walters 
  9. ^ "The World's Most Powerful Women". "Forbes. August 20, 2004. Archived from the original on March 15, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2009. 
  10. ^ Oyez: Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
  11. ^ Former Pima County Supervisor Ann Day dies at the age of 77
  12. ^ a b "Book Discussion on Sisters in Law" Presenter: Linda Hirshman, author. Politics and Prose Bookstore. BookTV, Washington. September 3, 2015. 13 minutes in. Retrieved September 12, 2015 C-Span website
  13. ^ a b c d e Heilpern, John (April 2013). "Sandra Day O’Connor on Growing Up with Guns and Her Views on Assault Weapons". The Hive. Retrieved August 24, 2017. 
  14. ^ Washington Valdez, Diana (July 2, 2005). "Hometown stars – Sandra Day O'Connor". El Paso Times. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Stanford Magazine - Article". alumni.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2017-05-16. 
  16. ^ "Transcript: O'Connor on FOX". Fox News Channel. July 1, 2005. 
  17. ^ "Biskupic, Joan. Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court became its most influential justice. New York: Harper Collins, 2005
  18. ^ Q & A: Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  19. ^ Debbie Kornmiller, "O'Connor's class rank an error that will not die", Arizona Daily Star (July 10, 2005). Archived at O'Connor's class rank an error that will not die. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d e "'Out Of Order' At The Court: O'Connor On Being The First Female Justice". Fresh Air. March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  21. ^ Baughman, J. (Ed.). (2001). O’Connor, Sandra Day 1930-. American Decades, 9. 21. Sept. 2016.
  22. ^ a b "John J. O'Connor III, 79; husband of Supreme Court justice". "The Washington Post. November 12, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  23. ^ Phelps, S. (Ed.). (2002). O’Connor, Sandra Day (1930 - ). World of Criminal Justice, 20. Sept. 2016.
  24. ^ a b c Williams, Marjorie; Williams, Marjorie (2016-03-29). "How Sandra Day O’Connor became the most powerful woman in 1980s America". The Washington Post. "ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-03-31. 
  25. ^ "LAPR - State Library of Arizona". apps.azlibrary.gov. Retrieved March 31, 2017. 
  26. ^ "General Election Canvass, 1974, p. 5" (PDF). Arizona Secretary of State. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  27. ^ "SANDRA D. O’CONNOR". www.azcourts.gov. Retrieved March 31, 2017. 
  28. ^ a b James Taranto; Leonard Leo (2004). Presidential Leadership. Wall Street Journal Books. "ISBN "978-0-7432-7226-1. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  29. ^ a b "1981 Year in Review: Reagan Foreign Policy Speech/O'Connor Appointed to Supreme Court". 
  30. ^ "Transcript (January 30, 2008). "Transcript of GOP debate at Reagan Library". CNN. June 30, 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  31. ^ Greenburg (2007), p. 223
  32. ^ a b Greenhouse, Linda. Becoming Justice Blackmun. "Times Books (2005); p. 141
  33. ^ a b c Greenburg (2007), p. 222
  34. ^ "CQ Senate Votes 271 - 278" (PDF). CQ Almanac. 47–S. 1981. 
  35. ^ U.S. National Archives. "Reagan's Nomination of O'Connor". Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  36. ^ Julia Malone (July 8, 1981). "A closer look at nation's first woman high court nominee". "Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  37. ^ Julia Malone (September 3, 1981). "New Right strategy: let's drag out O'Connor's confirmation hearing; Focus: abortion, women's rights, school prayer". "Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 
  38. ^ Greenhouse, Linda (September 10, 1981). "O'Connor Hearings Open on a Note of Friendship". The New York Times. "ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  39. ^ a b Greenhouse, Linda Greenhouse (September 16, 1981). "PANEL APPROVES JUDGE O'CONNOR". The New York Times. "ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  40. ^ Greenburg (2007), pp. 222–223
  41. ^ "Reagan's Nomination of O'Connor". archives.gov. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  42. ^ Lowe, Rebecca (August 30, 2011). "Supremely confident: the legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor". The Guardian. 
  43. ^ Associated Press (July 1, 2005). "Sandra Day O'Connor: The reluctant justice". nbc.com. Retrieved May 20, 2017. 
  44. ^ Greenburg (2007), p. 68
  45. ^ a b "Op-ed essay Schwartz, Herman (April 12, 1998). "O'Connor as a 'Centrist'? Not When Minorities Are Involved". "Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  46. ^ "Nine Justices, Ten Years: A Statistical Retrospective" (PDF). "Harvard Law Review. 118 (1): 521. November 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2006. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  47. ^ Lane, Charles (November 1, 2004). "Justices Too Tightlipped on Their Health?". "The Washington Post. p. A19. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  48. ^ Greenburg (2007), pp. 122–123
  49. ^ Greenburg (2007), pp. 123, 134
  50. ^ Greenburg (2007), p. 123
  51. ^ Smythe, Barbara (February–March 2006). "Retired But Remembered: Oregon lawyers reminisce about Justice Sandra Day O’Connor". "Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Retrieved April 26, 2007. 
  52. ^ Neumann, Richard K., Jr. (2003). "Conflicts of interest in Bush v. Gore: Did some justices vote illegally?". Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics: 34. ["dead link] The article cites multiple, uncontested sources on this and related incidents, and argues they were grounds for recusal on three separate bases: personal bias regarding a party to litigation, appearance of partiality, and material interest.
  53. ^ a b S.M. (October 8, 2013). "Endorsing the endorsement test". The Economist. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  54. ^ "Rosen, Jeffrey (November 28, 2010). "The TSA is invasive, annoying – and unconstitutional". The Washington Post. 
  55. ^ Taslitz, Andrew Reconstructing the Fourth Amendment: a history of search and seizure, 1789–1868, pg. 83
  56. ^ "Regula Pro Lege, Si Deficit Lex: The Latin Sapience of High Judges". The Federal Bar Association. Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  57. ^ a b c d O’Connor as a ‘Centrist’? Not When Minorities Are Involved, Herman Schwartz, "Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1988.
  58. ^ McCleskey v. Kemp, "New Georgia Encyclopedia
  59. ^ David Baldus, et al., In The Post-Furman Era: An Empirical And Legal Overview, With Recent Findings From Philadelphia, 83 Cornell L. Rev. 1638 (1998)
  60. ^ Justice O'Connor: affirmative action should continue, archived from the original on January 18, 2012, retrieved March 9, 2012 
  61. ^ Greenhouse, Linda. Becoming Justice Blackmun. "Times Books. 2005. p. 183
  62. ^ Greenburg (2007), p. 80
  63. ^ "Greenhouse, Linda (2005), Becoming Justice Blackmun, Times Books, pp. 196–197 
  64. ^ Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 851 (1992).
  65. ^ (in Italian) Il diritto straniero e la Corte suprema statunitense, in Quaderni costituzionali, giugno 2006.
  66. ^ a b Remarks at the Southern Center for International Studies, Sandra Day O'Connor, October 28, 2003
  67. ^ "Phyllis Schlafly (May 2005). "Is Relying on Foreign Law Impeachable?". The Phyllis Schlafly Report. 
  68. ^ "Reaffirmation of American Independence Resolution Approved", May 13, 2004
  69. ^ Krauthammer, Charles (July 8, 2005). "Philosophy for a Judge". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 18, 2005. 
  70. ^ Ponnuru, Ramesh (June 30, 2003). "Sandra's Day". "National Review. Archived from the original on September 11, 2005. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  71. ^ a b "TOPICS; IN THE NAME OF THE LAW; Legal ABC's". The New York Times. September 29, 1983. "ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  72. ^ "HIGH COURT'S '9 MEN' WERE A SURPRISE TO ONE". The New York Times. October 12, 1983. "ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 19, 2017. 
  73. ^ Clarke, Suzan (May 27, 2010). "Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Backs Elena Kagan Nomination". "ABC News. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  74. ^ 'O'Connor Has Breast Surgery To Stop Cancer,' the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse. October 22, 1988
  75. ^ "Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics: "Conflicts of interest in Bush v. Gore: Did some justices vote illegally?"". The Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. 2003. Retrieved November 18, 2005. ["dead link]
  76. ^ Lodge, Sally (May 28, 2009). "Q & A with Sandra Day O'Connor". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  77. ^ Staff writer (February 5, 2007). "Former Justice O'Connor:'I Would Have Stayed Longer'". "The Associated Press via "NewsMax Media. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  78. ^ Bravin, Jess (August 11, 2009). "Change of Venue: In Retirement, Justice O'Connor Still Rules". The Wall Street Journal. 
  79. ^ "O'Connor questions court's decision to take Bush v. Gore". Chicago Tribune. April 27, 2013. 
  80. ^ GRANITE STATE INS. CO. V. AM. BLDG. MATERIALS, INC., No. 12-10979, 11th Circuit, 2013
  81. ^ http://digitalcommons.law.villanova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1022&context=thirdcircuit_2014
  82. ^ "O'Connor Decries Republican Attacks on Courts". 
  83. ^ Judicial Accountability Must Safeguard, Not Threaten, Judicial Independence: An Introduction, 86 Denv. U.L. Rev. 1 (2008)
  84. ^ "Justice O'Connor's Wish: a Wand, not a Gavel", "U.S. News & World Report, November 7, 2007.
  85. ^ "To defend Anwar is to defend Malaysian democracy", Sandra Day O’Connor and Abdurrahman Wahid, "Financial Times, August 7, 2008
  86. ^ Mosk, Matthew (January 26, 2010). "O'Connor Calls Citizens United Ruling A Problem". "ABC News. Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  87. ^ Cristian Farias, "Sandra Day O'Connor Says Obama Should Get To Replace Justice Scalia", "Huffington Post, (February 17, 2016).
  88. ^ Pryor Jr, William H. (October 4, 2006). "Neither Force Nor Will, But Merely Judgment". The Wall Street Journal. 
  89. ^ "Judge Pryor on Judicial Independence", "Harvard Law Record, March 15, 2007.
  90. ^ "The College of William and Mary announcement of O'Connor's appointment to Chancellor post". Retrieved November 18, 2005. 
  91. ^ Whitson, Brian. "Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates ’65 to Serve as W&M Chancellor". College of William & Mary. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  92. ^ "Iraq Study Group Members". Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2006. 
  93. ^ Whitson, Brian. "Maintain Judicial Independence O'Connor Tells Law Graduates". Archived from the original on September 8, 2006. Retrieved September 19, 2007. 
  94. ^ Mulcahy, Ned (October 7, 2006). "Paper Chase: O'Connor to hear Second Circuit cases". "JURIST. Archived from the original on October 17, 2006. Retrieved November 11, 2006. 
  95. ^ Office for Religious Life at Stanford University
  96. ^ "Campaign Steering Committee". Civicmissionofschools.org. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 
  97. ^ Zehr, Mary Ann (August 25, 2009). "Celebrities Lend Weight to Promote Civics Education". "Education Week. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  98. ^ "iCivics (formerly Our Courts) homepage". Retrieved December 19, 2010. 
  99. ^ "Bhagavad Gita As It Is Original by Prabhupada". Asitis.com. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 
  100. ^ "Krishna Consciousness, Golden Rule, Interfaith and Judges". Dandavats. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 
  101. ^ "National Constitution Center, Board of Trustees". National Constitution Center Web Site. National Constitution Center. July 26, 2010. Archived from the original on July 27, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
  102. ^ "Bumpy Start for a Court Cloaked in Grandeur". The New York Times. March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  103. ^ "Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Joins Justice at Stake as Honorary Chair - JAS". Justiceatstake.org. April 15, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 
  104. ^ "Constitutionally Speaking New Hampshire". Constitutionallyspeakingnh.org. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Additional information
Legal offices
Preceded by
"Potter Stewart
"Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
1981–2006
Succeeded by
"Samuel Alito
Academic offices
Preceded by
"Henry Kissinger
"Chancellor of the College of William and Mary
2005–2012
Succeeded by
"Robert Gates
"Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
"John Paul Stevens
as Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
"Order of Precedence of the United States
as Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Succeeded by
"David Souter
as Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court


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