Arizona state Rep. Kolodin bashes Sandra Day O'Connor as 'undistinguished'

By Camryn Sanchez
Published: Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 4:04pm
Updated: Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 4:07pm

Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Arizona state Rep. Alexander Kolodin.

A Republican lawmaker bashed the late Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor while urging members to vote against a measure that would have requested the federal government to build a statue in her honor. 

Rep. Alexander Kolodin (R-Scottsdale) criticized O’Connor by claiming she made her decisions based on policy, rather than judicial reasoning. 

“We cannot allow the distinguished members of this body to have to suffer walking by such an undistinguished jurist when they enter here in the morning,” Kolodin said, mistaking the Arizona Capitol as the intended site of a monument to O’Connor. The bill would have requested a statue of O’Connor be built in Washington, D.C.

O’Connor was the first female Supreme Court Justice. She passed away last year at 93.

Kolodin cited the Roe v. Wade decision and affirmative action policies adopted by the Supreme Court during O’Connor’s tenure in his criticism, and argued those cases should have been handled differently. 

“She made decisions on what she thought was good policy not based on the law,” he said.

The bill failed, but not because of Kolodin — most of representatives who voted against it cited the fact that O’Connor’s family opposed the bill, preferring an alternative plan to build a statue of her somewhere else. 

Instead, O’Connor’s son suggested that the lawmakers could instead invest in something like civics education, which the late justice advocated for.

Sandra Day O
Reagan White House Photographic Office
Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as a U.S. Supreme Court justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger (left) on Sept. 25, 1981. Her husband, John O'Connor, looks on.

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