U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is stepping down. Her decision gives President Bush his first chance to name someone to the nation's highest court.
In a letter to President Bush, Justice O'Connor said her 24 years of service on the high court have been a great privilege. The 75-year-old was the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden that she leaves behind an outstanding record of service.
"Throughout her tenure, she has been a discerning and conscientious judge and a public servant of complete integrity. Justice O'Connor's great intellect, wisdom and personal decency have won her the esteem of her colleagues and our country," the president said.
President Bush says he will be deliberate and thorough in nominating a replacement for Justice O'Connor, promising to put forward a nominee who meets a high standard of legal ability, judgment and integrity.
The president has had trouble getting some of his judicial nominees past Democratic opposition in Congress. He called for fair treatment, a fair hearing, and a fair vote for his eventual Supreme Court nominee, who he promised to name in a timely manner, so that person can be in place when the court reconvenes next October.