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Supreme Court announces funeral plans for former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

WASHINGTON — Former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be honored in a private funeral service on Dec. 19 following a day of lying in repose at the Supreme Court, the high court announced on Friday.

O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court justice, died on Dec. 1. She was 93.

The public will be invited to pay respects to the late justice on Dec. 18 as her body lies in repose at the Great Hall of the Supreme Court. Her casket will be handled by the Supreme Court police officers, and O’Connor’s family will designate honorary pallbearers.

An hourlong private ceremony will be held at the Supreme Court on Dec. 18 starting at 9:30 a.m., followed by a public viewing from 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m., the Supreme Court said.

The funeral service the following day will take place at the Washington National Cathedral, a site often used to honor high-profile government officials such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The invitation-only service will be livestreamed for the public.

O’Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and retired more than two decades later, in 2006.

“A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement upon the announcement of O’Connor’s death. “She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education.”

President Joe Biden called O’Connor “an American icon.”

“Justice O’Connor never quit striving to make this Nation stronger, calling on us all to engage with our country and with one another, and her institute’s work to promote civics education and civil discourse has touched millions,” Biden said in a statement Monday. “She knew that for democracy to work, we have to listen to each other, and remember how much more we all have in common as Americans than what keeps us apart.”

The White House has not yet said whether the president will attend the funeral service.