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University of Iowa News Release

July 1, 2005

UI Law Professor Raymond Did Aerobics With Justice O'Connor

As a clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1986 and 1987, Margaret Raymond participated in an exercise class for the Supreme Court's women employees offered in the Supreme Court building's gym and basketball court. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the Court's first woman justice, organized the classes.

"I remember taking exercise classes with Justice O'Connor," said Raymond, now a law professor at the University of Iowa College of Law who continues to observe the Supreme Court. O'Connor, appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, announced her retirement from the Court Friday.

"I have an enormous amount of respect for Justice O'Connor," said Raymond. "I found her to be a very gracious person, polite to everyone, kind to younger people, kind to her clerks. She is extremely intelligent and made of very strong stuff."

O'Connor's retirement now sets off what is expected by many to be a political fight over her replacement's confirmation. O'Connor was seen as a moderate conservative who occupied the space between the Court's conservative and liberal justices. She was often the swing vote in a series of significant 5-4 decisions over the years. President Bush is widely expected to nominate a conservative to replace her and liberal groups are expected to fight it. But Raymond is reluctant to speculate on the upcoming nomination and Senate confirmation process because O'Connor's retirement announcement doesn't follow recent custom in end-of-term retirements, which have typically been announced on the last day of the term.

The term ended last Monday with no announced retirements. In addition, most speculation focused on the possible retirement of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who is ill with thyroid cancer.

"I really don't know what's going to happen next because we don't know what Chief Justice Rehnquist's plans are," said Raymond. "Will Justice O'Connor be the only retirement, or is there another shoe to drop? We'll have to wait and see."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,