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sandra day oconnor

December 8, 2023

Remembering Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Ask students: Where did O'Connor grow up, and how did that impact her perspective? What was the career path O'Connor took to get to the Supreme Court?

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Sandra Day O'Connor, the history-making justice who was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, died December 1 at 93. Her tenure is notable not just because she was the first woman, but also because of what she did in her 24 years there. Judy Woodruff and John Yang take a look at O’Connor's legacy both on and off the court.

For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Dsicussion Questions

  • Who was Sandra Day O'Connor?
  • Where did O'Connor grow up, and how did that impact her perspective?
  • What was the career path O'Connor took to get to the Supreme Court?
  • When did O'Connor join the Supreme Court?
  • How did some of O'Connor's rulings impact U.S. law?

Focus Questions

What stood out the most to you about O'Connor's story and legacy? What do you think she'll be remembered for in the decades to come?

Media literacy: Who were some of the people chosen to speak about O'Connor's legacy for this story? Why do you think they were chosen above other commentators?

Extension Activity

In this story, there is a clip of O'Connor saying she'd like to be remembered first and foremost as "a good judge."

But O'Connor's legacy extends beyond her work in the courtroom, including promoting civics education. Watch the video below by iCivics, a civic education non-profit that O'Connor helped found. You can find their statement on her passing here. Then discuss — why do you think civics education was the object of O'Connor's focus after leaving the Supreme Court?

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The Supreme Court: Balancing the Branches Lesson Plans

Share My Lesson has free, tailored preK-12 resources to ensure your students leave your classroom equipped with a deeper knowledge of civics and government to think critically about today's toughest issues.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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