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Sandra Day O’Connor announces likely Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Jessica Gresko
Associated Press
FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2009 file photo, President Barack Obama presents the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sandra Day O'Connor. O’Connor has stepped back from public life. The nation’s first female Supreme Court justice had for more than a decade after leaving the court in 2006 kept up an active schedule. She served as a visiting federal appeals court judge, spoke on issues she cared about and founded her own education organization. But the 88-year-old is now fully retired. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON – Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, says she has the beginning stages of dementia and “probably Alzheimer’s disease.”

O’Connor made the announcement in a letter Tuesday. She said that her diagnosis was made “some time ago” and that as her condition has progressed she is “no longer able to participate in public life.”

O’Connor, 88, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and took her seat on the court in 1981. She announced her retirement in 2005.

O’Connor’s announcement came a day after a story by The Associated Press that she had stepped back from public life.

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