High Court Colleagues React to O'Connor's Retirement

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's colleagues issued the following statements, reacting to her planned retirement.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist:

She is a longtime friend and valued colleague. I shall miss her greatly.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia:

As the first woman to be appointed to this Court, Sandra Day O'Connor was thrust into the spotlight as no new Justice has ever been. And she has become a star. The statistics show that during her tenure she shaped the jurisprudence of this Court more than any other Associate Justice. Beyond that, however, by her many speeches and public appearances, here and abroad, she has enhanced the national and international reputation of the Court, and has established -- to the point where it now goes almost without notice -- the role of her sex in the administration of justice.

Those who have served with her know that she has also shaped the character of this institution, taking the lead in creating an atmosphere of collegiality and friendship among us. She is a woman of enormous and varied talents -- she does it all. We will miss her.

Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy:

Any jurist would consider it a high honor to be a colleague of Justice O'Connor. Any person would consider it a privilege to be her friend. In these respects the members of our Court have been twice blessed. Justice O'Connor has made a splendid contribution to the law and to the Court. It is a pleasure to join with all of my fellow citizens in extending profound thanks to one of our most decent and distinguished Americans for her public service and to wish her many years of happiness.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas:

Virginia and I are deeply saddened to learn of the retirement of Justice O'Connor. From my first day at the Court and throughout my tenure, she has been warm and courteous. She has been an outstanding colleague, civil in dissent and gracious when in the majority. We have the deepest affections for her, John, and their family. We wish them both the best as they leave the Court. There will always be a warm place reserved for them in our hearts.

Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer:

Sandra O'Connor has been a treasured colleague and a great friend. The Court, the law, and my life have been immeasurably enriched by her dedicated service. She has taught us all.