Sandra Day O’Connor ready for female president, but won’t say who
April 25, 2013
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PHOENIX — Sandra Day O’Connor is, obviously, quite familiar with historic firsts.
Some 200-plus years after the nation’s birth she became the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. There have been three more women appointed since, including the first Latina, a development she welcomes as a way of ending the novelty; remarkably, in just about a generation, the notion of women serving on the nation’s high court has become rather unremarkable — part of “the normal course of events,” as she put it.
So the obvious question: Is America ready for a female president? “Absolutely,” O’Connor decreed.
Just don’t expect her to say who, exactly, she has in mind.
Even after three decades, celebrity is something O’Connor wears with evident unease. Seven years after leaving the court, people still recognize the former justice, now 83, and occasionally stop her on the street. She draws plenty of media attention too, which is not always welcome.
She sat in a small conference room this week at O’Connor House, a meeting center in a nondescript Phoenix office park, answering some questions and swatting away others. Stacks of her latest book, a history of the Supreme Court, sat on the table along with her handbag, a checkbook peeking out.
The attention she gets allows O’Connor to talk up one of her pet projects, an effort to boost the nation’s woeful civic knowledge. (In 2010, a Pew poll found that fewer than a third of Americans could identify the chief justice of the Supreme Court.)