Justice O'Connor, Full of Grace
I'm told the buzz inside the media room at the Supreme Court this morning wasn't about the controversial gun-control case the justices may or may not decide to resolve this term. It wasn't about the important sentencing hearing underway today elsewhere in Washington; a discussion that may result in tens of thousands of drug offenders being released early from prison over the next few years. It wasn't about White House e-mails or lethal injections.
It was about how the remarkable life of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has just become more remarkable still. Citing an Arizona television report that aired last week, USA Today this morning reported this stunning story about how O'Connor's husband, who suffers from Alzheimer's, has met and fallen in love with another woman at the medical center where they both live.
Apparently, it is not uncommon for patients to forget their spouses, or even that they have spouses, and find romance again. What's particularly poignant about this story is that the former justice is reportedly "thrilled" that her husband has found happiness again in the clutches of the cruel disease. One report called it an example of "undying love." I call it, simply, an astonishing act of grace.
Justice O'Connor taught America many things during her tenure on the Supreme Court. She broke down many barriers even as she built up lasting legal coalitions. And since she left the court she has become a brave and outspoken supporter of judicial independence and other bulwarks against the tyrannies of the majority. And now by her act of charity and kindness toward her husband, and their children, and the woman named "Kay" who has suddenly entered their lives, O'Connor is teaching us again. It's no wonder everyone in the press room at the courthouse were talking about her.
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