Justice O'Connor Retires from Supreme Court

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Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring.

The announcement by O'Connor -- the first woman ever appointed to the court -- creates the first vacancy there in eleven years, and gives President Bush his first opportunity to appoint a justice.

O'Connor is a 75 year-old El Paso native. She has been a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty.

She says she expects to leave before the start of the court's next term in October -- or whenever the Senate confirms a successor.

So far, there's no word from the White House on who that successor might be.

In her letter, O'Connor says it's been "a great privilege" to serve on the court -- and that she leaves with "enormous respect" for its role.

President Bush spoke in the White House Rose Garden, shortly after the resignation of O'Connor.

He described O'Connor as someone of "great intellect, wisdom and personal decency."