United States Supreme Court Justice O'Connor to retire

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Friday, July 1, 2005

President George W. Bush speaks via phone to Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Friday, July 1, 2005, shortly after she submitted her letter of resignation citing personal reasons. The letter sits on the desk. White House photo by Paul Morse.

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, 75, announced Friday her intention to retire from the court. She said she would be stepping down before the beginning of the court's fall term, or when the Senate confirms a successor.

More than 10 years have passed since the last vacancy on the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States. Justice Stephen Breyer was the last jurist appointed to the court; Breyer was appointed by President Bill Clinton. This will be President George W. Bush's first opportunity to appoint a justice to the court.

Soon after the retirement was announced, President Bush held a short press-conference outside the White House where he praised O'Connor's years of public service. O'Connor has served on the court for 24 years, since her appointment by President Reagan in 1981.

In July 20 2005 President Bush nominated John G. Roberts as the candidate for the post.

O'Connor was the first female justice, as well as the first from the state of Arizona.