WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — A statue of Arizona's Sandra Day O'Connor is expected to be added to the U.S. Capitol after senators unanimously passed legislation to honor the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Out of the 252 statues currently on display in the Capitol building, only 14 represent female figures from the nation's history.
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema and a group of other senators recently sponsored legislation that would add two new Capitol statues: one representing O'Connor and the other honoring the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Justice O’Connor and Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women in law and life. By permanently placing their statues in the U.S. Capitol, we’re honoring their legacy and reminding visitors to our nation’s Capitol that women can achieve their dreams with grit and determination,” Sinema said in a statement.
The Senate passed the bill last week and the House of Representatives has introduced a companion bill.
According to a listing of existing statues, O'Connor, 91, would become the third person from Arizona to be honored in the Capitol. The late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater and Father Eusebio Kino both have statues.
O'Connor grew up on her family's Arizona cattle ranch. After graduating from Stanford University, she served in the Arizona Senate for two terms and was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979.
O'Connor made history in 1981 after President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the Supreme Court.
"O’Connor established herself as a pragmatic, independent voice on the Supreme Court, casting decisive votes during a time when the Court was being asked to resolve politically charged issues," the Senate's legislation states.
O'Connor stepped down from the court in 2006 and has spent the following years working on initiatives to improve civics education. Former President Barack Obama awarded O'Connor the Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Among the few women currently honored with statues in the Capitol include Helen Keller, suffragette Frances E. Willard, humanitarian Mother Joseph, and Jeannette Rankin, the first women elected to the House.
Up to Speed
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.