When Justice O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006 after nearly 25 years on the bench, her exemplary career was already the embodiment of civic engagement and the American pioneer spirit. An aspiring cattle rancher as a child, Justice O’Connor went on to forge a legal career at a time when few women did, serve in all three branches of Arizona state government, and become the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. But, she wasn’t done yet.
Over the course of her career, Justice O’Connor grew concerned about a growing lack of understanding about our system of government and the disengagement that inevitably follows. She discovered that civic education had been disappearing from curricula across the country for decades. Where it was taught, it was often dry and uninspiring. So, in 2009, Justice O’Connor founded iCivics with the goal of transforming civic education for every student in America with innovative, truly engaging games and resources.
When Justice O’Connor retired from public life in October 2018, she made a passionate appeal for the next generation of leaders to take up the cause of ensuring quality civic learning becomes a reality for all:
“I made a commitment to myself, my family, and my country that I would use whatever years I had left to advance civic learning and engagement… It is my great hope that our nation will commit to educating our youth about civics, and to helping young people understand their crucial role as informed, active citizens in our nation. To achieve this, I hope that private citizens, counties, states, and the federal government will work together to create and fund a nationwide civics education initiative. Many wonderful people already are working towards this goal, but they need real help and public commitment.”
CivXNow, a project of iCivics, has taken up that call to carry on her most important work and greatest legacy – restoring the vital civic mission of schools.