Washington National Cathedral to host funeral for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Posted Dec 18, 2023

[Washington National Cathedral] The funeral of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be held at Washington National Cathedral on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 11 a.m. Eastern. O’Connor was the first woman to serve as a United States Supreme Court Justice, serving until 2006. She was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1981, a historic nomination that shifted the composition of the highest judicial body in the nation.

Throughout her tenure, O’Connor played a pivotal role in shaping key decisions, earning a reputation as a moderate and pragmatic justice. Baptized in the Episcopal Church, she regularly worshipped at Washington National Cathedral and served for eight years on the Cathedral Chapter, the governing board of the cathedral.

“Justice O’Connor’s indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment to justice made her a pioneer and an inspiration to generations, breaking barriers and leaving an enduring mark on the nation’s highest court,” said The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral. “The Cathedral has been blessed by her many years of service and worship.”

Born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, O’Connor embarked on a groundbreaking legal career marked by numerous milestones. After graduating third in her class from Stanford Law School in 1952, O’Connor faced the challenges of a legal landscape dominated by men. Her persistence led her to become the deputy county attorney in San Mateo County, California, in 1952, making her the first woman to hold that position. In 1969, she continued to break barriers by serving as the first female majority leader in the Arizona State Senate.

Notably, O’Connor’s impact extended beyond her role as a jurist. Her commitment to civic education led her to establish the “iCivics” program in 2009, aimed at promoting civic engagement and understanding among students. O’Connor’s legacy endures not only as a trailblazer for women in the legal profession but also as a dedicated public servant who left an indelible mark on the American judicial system. After leaving the high court and before her own diagnosis of dementia, O’Connor became an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease, which her husband John O’Connor suffered from for nearly 20 years, until his death in 2009. O’Connor is survived by her three sons, Scott, Jay and Brian.

The funeral service will be livestreamed.