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O'Connor Speaks to Overflow Crowd at MTSU

MTSU photo by Andy Heidt
College of Liberal Arts Dean Mark Byrnes, left, listens as retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor makes a point during her appearance at MTSU Feb. 8.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor spoke to an overflow crowd here on the campus of Middle Tennessee State last night.

WMOT student reporter Charity Dunn was there and says the lecture hall filled early and a line formed for an overflow room with a video feed.

The former justice, and the first woman appointed to the nation’s highest court, gave a wide-ranging and surprisingly entertaining talk that had the crowd laughing repeatedly. O’Connor shared a number of biographical details, including memories of her childhood.

"My early companions were the cowboys on the ranch and they were good to me. They had me on the back of a horse before I could walk. It was great. You can't imagine a nicer life."

Justice O’Connor also spoke about her career, her appointment to the nation’s highest court by President Reagan in 1981, and the courts roll - including its limitations.

"I don't think you can pick out a special role for the court on any particular topic. Its job is to interpret and apply the constitution to the issues that are properly brought before the court."

O’Connor wrapped up her presentation by taking questions from students in the audience. MTSU has promised to screen a video made of the speech, but a date for that screening hasn’t been announced.