Chief Justice ‘saddened’ by O’Connor diagnosis

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts says he is “saddened to learn” that Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, has the beginning stages of dementia.

Roberts said in a statement Tuesday that although O’Connor has announced she is withdrawing from public life, “no illness or condition can take away the inspiration she provides for those who will follow the many paths she has blazed.”

O’Connor said in a letter Tuesday that she has the beginning stages of dementia, “probably Alzheimer’s disease.” The 88-year-old took her seat on the Supreme Court in 1981 and retired in 2006.