Friday, December 1, 2023

Sandra Day O’Connor, The Icons of My Youth Keep Falling


Sandra Day O’Connor departed this world today, in the same week another icon of my youth, Henry Kissinger, left us for the great beyond.

Ronald Reagan appointed Ms. Day O’Connor  to the Supreme Court at a time when women were still pressing against a glass ceiling that has still not been shattered more than 30 years later. To a young woman coming of age at the time of her appointment, she was a lioness. 

Instead of trying to blaze a judicial trail of activism, she instead sought the middle ground, conservative, consistent, true to the Constitution, fair, equitable, considerate of precedent, unwilling to crash the Apple cart, aware of history. 

To a young woman that had to fight for equality in my own industry, standing stoic and refusing to be marginalized in the Midwest of the 1980s and early 1990’s, who endured sexism, harassment, ridicule, marginalization, discrimination and disdain for daring to take a job at what had been previously a man’s world, I understand to a limited degree the flaming hoops she had to leap through and navigate merely because she was a brilliant, educated woman.

She is a shining example of women who have braved the storm, fought the good fight, tread where no woman had gone before, and made us proud, empowered and aware of our agency. 

Rest in peace my icon. Thank you for what you endured to pave the way for future generations. Without Sandra Day O’Connor there would be no Ruth Badger Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Ketanji Brown Jackson, Amy Barrett, or Elena Kagan. She broke the mold. 

Now, in 2023, we have four women on the court of nine justices! Just WOW! 

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