Evan Thomas at WP:

O’Connor, who cast the decisive vote in 330 cases over 24-plus years on the court and wrote the controlling opinions on major social issues such as abortion and affirmative action, understood that power and influence should be wielded with good humorand decency. When Clarence Thomas arrived at the court in 1991, he felt lonely and isolated — “hammered,” as he put it, by his confirmation hearings. After the court’s conferences, O’Connor began walking with him back to his chambers, saying, “You should come to lunch.” Thomas sulkily resisted. But “one day,” he recalled, “she looks at me, ‘Now, Clarence, you need to come to lunch!’” Thomas laughed as he recalled the scene. “So then I said, ‘Yes, ma’am!’” Thomas soon learned that O’Connor made all the justices come to lunch. “She was the glue,” said Thomas. “The reason this place was civil was Sandra Day O’Connor.”


Scalia knew. He scrawled her a note when, in 2005, she decided to retire to care for her husband, John, who had Alzheimer’s disease. (In announcing O’Connor’s death Friday, the court said she suffered “complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s, and a respiratory illness.”) Scalia’s note said: “I have (despite my sometimes sharp dissents) always regarded you as a good friend — indeed, as the forger of the social bond that has kept the Court together.” He wondered: “Who will take that role when you are gone?”