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William Rehnquist proposed to Sandra Day O’Connor while at Stanford: report

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Former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist reportedly proposed marriage to fellow Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when the two were law students in the early 1950s.

In an upcoming book about O’Connor, titled “First,” author Evan Thomas reveals the proposal, discovered in correspondence between the two students, according to an NPR review.

{mosads}The two had previously dated while attending Stanford, though O’Connor had reportedly broken off the relationship and begun dating the man who would become her husband, John O’Connor, by the time Rehnquist sent his proposal in a letter.

“To be specific, Sandy, will you marry me this summer?” Rehnquist reportedly asked in the letter.

Jay O’Connor, a son of the retired justice, told NPR that it was an “amazing accident” that the two would later serve together on the Supreme Court, though Rehnquist is thought to have suggested Sandra Day O’Connor’s nomination to then-President Reagan.

“It was just an amazing accident of history that … my mom and her friend and law school classmate ended up on the Supreme Court together,” Jay O’Connor said.

“Not only did they have a wonderful working relationship for over 25 years on the court, they had a wonderful friendship their entire life.”

In later years, the two retired justices even lived next door to each other in Phoenix, according to Jay O’Connor.

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, retired in 2006 after serving more than two decades on the bench. She announced earlier this month that she is withdrawing from public life following a diagnosis of dementia. 

Rehnquist served on the court for just over three decades until his death in 2005.

Tags Sandra Day O'Connor Supreme Court William Rehnquist
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