Local Legal Pioneer Reacts to O'Connor Resignation

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

The country's first female supreme court justice will retire from the bench after 24 years of service.

Associate Justice Sandra Day O'connor announced this morning she will resign her seat on the court.

That will become effective when a new judge is appointed and confirmed.

A moderate conservative O'connor is known for looking at each case on its individual merits and often casting the swing vote in a 5-4 decision.

Kentucky Senator MItch McConnell has seen O'connor in public and private settings and says she will be remembered as one of the most distinguished justices ever to serve.

"She's known for her fairness and her rational decisions. For even the most difficult decisions upon which the court had to rule," McConnell said.

Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken is the first female to serve in that capacity and says she has always looked up to O'connor as a role model.

"Anytime you're the first in something, whether you're a man or a woman, you have a tough row to hoe. And I think she had a difficult time," Milliken said.

President Bush says he plans to nominate a new justice soon, but the confirmation process is expected to be heated.

The court returns to action in October.

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