In an extraordinary letter to her friends and the nation, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, revealed she has been diagnosed with early stage dementia and urged a national commitment to civics education.

“Since many people have asked about my current status and activities, I want to be open about these changes, and while I am still able, share some personal thoughts,” wrote O’Connor, 88, who said she is no longer able to participate in public life.

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