Sandra Day O'Connor: Arizona leaders remember nation's 1st female Supreme Court justice

Leaders in the Grand Canyon State are remembering the life and legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor.

O'Connor, who became the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice in the 1980s, passed away at the age of 93 on Dec. 1. According to a statement by Supreme Court officials, O'Connor died in Phoenix due to complications related to advanced dementia and a respiratory illness.

"A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education, and we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot," wrote Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Read More: Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has died

Rep. Greg Stanton


Rep. Greg Stanton

Rep. Greg Stanton, who represents a Congressional district in the Phoenix area, issued a statement on O'Connor's passing. It reads:

"Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spent her life breaking down barriers in the pursuit of a more just society.

She blazed every trail she set foot on—defying the odds stacked against women in the legal profession to rise to become Arizona’s assistant attorney general, our first female majority leader in the state Senate, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, and ultimately our first female justice on the United States Supreme Court. She brought her Arizona brand of pragmatism and independence with her to the Supreme Court and was often the swing vote on consequential decisions.

In the years since her retirement from the Court, I’ve admired her steadfast commitment to preserving our democracy through objective, fact-based and collaborative civil discourse. Her work will inspire future generations to follow her example to become engaged and thoughtful civic participants.

My prayers and condolences are with the O’Connor family and her colleagues at the O’Connor Institute."

Gov. Katie Hobbs


Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs

Governor Katie Hobbs, in her statement, said O'Connor "embodied the humility and civility that is at the core of what it means to be a public servant."

The full statement reads:

"Throughout her entire career, as an Arizona legislator, judge, and Supreme Court Justice, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor embodied the humility and civility that is at the core of what it means to be a public servant. Justice O’Connor first broke barriers when she was elected Arizona Senate Majority Leader, becoming the first woman to ever serve in that role in the United States.

Her trailblazing career continued when she became the first woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court, where she was the decisive vote in some of the most critical court cases in our nation’s history. Justice O’Connor’s impact continued far beyond the bench, with a lifelong commitment to civic engagement and civil discourse, which is more important than ever.

Her legacy will forever be ingrained in the fibers of our state and nation’s history. The hearts of every Arizonan are with her and her family today as we mourn the loss of a true trailblazer."

Stephen Richer


Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer

Stephen Richer, who is the Maricopa County Recorder, released a brief statement on O'Connor's passing.

"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor exemplified the best of Arizona and our entire county. As the first woman on the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor broke barriers, championed integrity, and defended the rule of the law. Justice O’Connor was a steadfast leader in Arizona, and she is a perfect example of why so many of us are proud to call the Grand Canyon State home. The impact of her legacy will be felt for generations to come."

Kimberly Yee

In a brief statement posted to her  X (formerly Twitter) account, Kimberly Yee, who is Arizona's Treasurer, called O'Connor a "trailblazer."

Fmr. Gov. Doug Ducey

Doug Ducey, who served as Arizona's Governor from 2015 until he stepped down due to term limits in 2023, issued a very brief statement on O'Connor, via a post that is accompanied by a video on his X account.

"A person for all seasons," a portion of the X post read.

Fmr. Gov. Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer, who served as Arizona's governor from 2009 to 2015, said "we lost an Arizona treasure and icon" in her statement.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego


Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego

In a post on X, Mayor Gallego said O'Connor was "a trailblazing inspiration for women, especially those of us in Arizona."

"With her unique grit, O’Connor took any ‘no’ she got and turned it into a ‘watch me!’ — leading her all the way to the Supreme Court," read a portion of Mayor Gallego's statement. "Her legacy is forever etched in our memories."