Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announces she has been diagnosed with dementia

Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor revealed ...

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 1:46 AM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 1:46 AM

Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor revealed in a letter on Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with the "beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease."

"I will continue living in Phoenix, Arizona surrounded by dear friends and family," she wrote and added, "While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessings of my life."

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Chief Justice John Roberts praised O'Connor in a statement Tuesday as a "towering figure" and a "role model not only for girls and women, but for all those committed to equal justice under law."

O'Connor, 88, was nominated to the bench by President Ronald Reagan as the first female Supreme Court justice of the United States in 1981. She retired from the bench in 2006, in part to care for her husband, who was ailing from Alzheimer's.

In her retirement, she became an advocate for Alzheimer's disease as well as launching iCivics, a website dedicated to encouraging young people to learn civics.

In her letter, O'Connor also announced that she will be stepping away from public life and her leadership role with iCivics in light of her physical condition.

"It is time for new leaders to make civic learning and civic engagement a reality for all," she wrote, adding, "I hope that I have inspired young people about civic engagement and helped pave the pathway for women who may have faced obstacles pursuing their careers.

The letter was released by the court's Public Information Officer. O'Connor signed it at the bottom writing "God Bless you all."

Roberts said that while he was "saddened to learn" of O'Connor's diagnosis, he "was not at all surprised that she used the occasion of sharing that fact to think of our country first."

"Although she has announced that she is withdrawing from public life, no illness or condition can take away the inspiration she provides for those who will follow the many paths she has blazed," Roberts wrote.

O'Connor inspired generations of female lawyers who admired her path-marking success in a field that had been dominated by men. Over time, on the court she was known as a moderate conservative and often the swing vote on hot-button social issues.

"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is a trailblazer in every sense. It's a testament to her patriotism that she is approaching this difficult new chapter (with) the same selflessness that defined her legal career," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, posted on Twitter. "I pray that she continues to be blessed (with) her trademark strength and grace."

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who co-founded the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, said on Twitter that she wasn't surprised O'Connor was facing her diagnosis with "the strength (and) bravery that have defined her life." California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted that O'Connor "paved the way" and showed young girls they could also become a Supreme Court justice.

"In all aspects of her life Justice O'Connor has been a transparent leader, and being forthcoming about her diagnosis is another demonstration of this," the Alzheimer's Association said in a statement. "We commend Justice O'Connor for bravely sharing her diagnosis and increasing awareness about this devastating disease."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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