Biden orders flags at half-mast in honor of late Justice O’Connor
President Biden on Monday ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-mast at the White House, military bases and at federal buildings in honor of the late Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who passed away on Friday at the age of 93.
The flags will be lowered on the day of her funeral, which has not yet been announced.
“Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was an American icon, the first woman on our nation’s highest court. She spent her career committed to the stable center, pragmatic and in search of common ground,” read the president’s proclamation. “She knew that for democracy to work, we have to listen to each other, and remember how much more we all have in common as Americans than what keeps us apart.”
The high court’s announcement of her death noted that she had “advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s and a respiratory illness.”
The Supreme Court also hung black drapes over the courtroom door in remembrance of O’Connor, a tradition that dates back 150 years to the death of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. It’s typically left in place for 30 days.
In 2018, O’Connor announced she had been diagnosed with dementia and would no longer be appearing in public due to her condition.
O’Connor was appointed to the court by President Reagan in 1981, and confirmed unanimously by the Senate. She was the first woman to sit on the bench, with five more to follow over the decades: the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
O’Connor served until 2006, and was a moderate member of the court. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. took her vacated seat.
Her husband, John O’Connor, passed away in 2009. She is survived by her three sons and six grandchildren.