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Supreme Court Shutters Justice O'Connor's Workout Class

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. | Last updated on

There's been a lot of talk about Justice Ginsburg's workout regime these days -- the 84-year-old justice does bench 70 pounds, after all. But that's not the only Supreme Court workout worth noting.

While she was on the Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor began an early morning workout class at the Court. And she kept it going since then. Until now that is. After more than 35 years, Justice O'Connor's workout class is being forced to relocate.

Say Goodbye to Morning Exercise in the Highest Court in the Land

Justice O'Connor's classes were held in the Court's basketball court, known as the "highest court in the land," and started soon after she joined the Supreme Court bench in 1981. O'Connor never persuaded her colleagues to join her. Justice Breyer attended but felt uncomfortable as the only man. Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor thought the class met too early. But O'Connor's class did become popular with "a devoted group of women who live in the Court's Capitol Hill neighborhood," the AP reports.

Access to the Supreme Court's b-ball court is generally limited to the Court staff alone, so allowing public access required a "rare exception."

But, Justice O'Connor retired more than 10 years ago and has stopped attending the class, leading the Supreme Court to cancel it. "Unfortunately, the time had come for the class to relocate," Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said in a statement to the AP. "Few employees attended the class and for some time now, the Justice has not been a participant and cannot oversee the group's access to the gym, which is in a private area of the building open only to Court employees."

Supreme Court Slimnastics

The workout class began on Justice O'Connor's third day on the job, according to a New York Times report at the time. That day, O'Connor sent a notice to all of the Court's women employees, urging them to join the class. It would be held five days a week, from 8 to 8:30 a.m., and cost $35. The instructor was provided by the YWCA.

The main feature of the class was "conditioning in slimnastics with some aerobic dance," O'Connor wrote.

O'Connor's class seems to have evolved a bit since it first began. Gone are the 80s style Jane Fonda workouts, replaced with a more contemporary routine. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are for aerobics and weight resistance, the AP reports, while Tuesdays are dedicated to yoga. The class still draws about 20 participants, described as "women in their 60s, 70s and 80s, with one participant in her 90s."

As the first woman on the Court, it "meant a lot to me, to have that class," O'Connor said in 2012. "That just really mattered."

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