Sandra Day O’Conner to Retire

7-1-05 - SUPREME COURT (AP) The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court is retiring from the bench. Sandra Day O'Connor has sent a letter to President Bush informing him she intends to step down as soon as a successor is confirmed to take her place.

O'Connor has been a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty.

Her appointment to the court by Ronald Reagan in 1981 made her the first female Supreme Court justice. She has been on the court for 24 years.

It's the first Supreme Court retirement in eleven years.

O'Connor is 75 years old. In 1988, she survived a bout with breast cancer.