Years after she left the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor remained enthusiastic about the early morning exercise class she started at the highest court in the land—in the basketball court that sits one floor above the courtroom where she heard arguments for nearly a quarter-century. While the first female justice never managed to persuade her fellow justices to join her regularly, her class became a court fixture and a hit with a devoted group of women who live in the court's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Now, more than 35 years after the class began and more than a decade after O'Connor left the bench, the court has decided that the women must take their workout somewhere else.
"Unfortunately, the time had come for the class to relocate," Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg wrote in an email 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." Allowing area residents to attend the class was a "rare exception" to court policy made because of O'Connor's role in the class, Arberg wrote. O'Connor is now 86, and her family was informed of the change. One of the exercise instructors said the class will move to a nearby church on Mondays and the city's Eastern Market on Wednesdays and Fridays.