Sandra Day O’Connor Appointed to Supreme Court

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Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed in the Supreme Court by President Reagan on August 19, 1981, thereby fulfilling his 1980 campaign pledge to nominate the first woman to the highest court in the United States. At the time of her nomination, the fifty-one-year-old O’Connor was a judge in the Arizona Court of Appeals and had a stellar career to her credit. She had previously served as Arizona’s Assistant Attorney General and a judge in Maricopa County Superior Court and the Arizona Senate, where she was the first female state Senate majority leader in the country. Indeed, this is one of the top political scandals of the 80s.

Who is Sandra Day O’Connor?

The first woman ever to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court was Sandra Day O’Connor. She was a Republican who served for 24 years and was regarded as a moderate conservative. 

Sandra Day O’Connor was commissioned to the Arizona state senate for two terms. Ronald Reagan nominated her to the United States Supreme Court in 1981. She became the first woman to be elected and serve on the nation’s highest court after receiving full Senate confirmation. In several significant decisions, notably the upholding of Roe v. Wade, O’Connor was a critical swing vote. After twenty-four years of service, she retired in 2006.

O’Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930, and spent part of her childhood on her family’s Arizona ranch. O’Connor was a skilled rider who also helped out on the farm. Sandra O’Connor’s book, Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, was released in 2002, and it detailed her tumultuous life.

When she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University in 1950, O’Connor went on to the university’s law school, where she graduated third in her class in 1952. Due to the lack of possibilities for female attorneys at the time, O’Connor struggled to find work and worked for the county attorney of California’s San Mateo region without compensation merely to get her foot in the door. She rose quickly through the ranks of deputy county attorney.

O’Connor worked as a civilian lawyer at the Quartermaster Masker Center in Frankfurt, Germany, from 1954 until 1957. In 1958, she returned to the United States and lived in Arizona. From 1965 to 1969, she worked in private practice before returning to public service as the state’s associate attorney general.

Governor Jack Williams appointed O’Connor to the state senate to fill a vacancy in 1969. O’Connor, a conservative Republican, was re-elected twice. In 1974, she took on a new challenge by running for a judgeship in Maricopa County Superior Court, which she won.

Service as a Judge

As a judge, O’Connor earned a reputation as a tough but fair judge. She stayed active in Republican politics outside of the courtroom. She was appointed to the state’s court of appeals in 1979; then, President Ronald Reagan nominated her for associate judge of the United States Supreme Court only two years later. When O’Connor was sworn in as the first female judge on the Supreme Court, she won full Senate confirmation and established new ground for women.

Service as a Supreme Court Justice

Sandra Day O’Connor was regarded as a moderate conservative on the Supreme Court. She tended to vote following her political conservatism, but she nevertheless thoroughly analyzed her arguments. O’Connor delivered the vote required to maintain the Supreme Court’s previous ruling on abortion rights, despite Republican calls to overturn Roe v. Wade. She voted for what she felt best matched the U.S. Constitution’s objectives on several occasions, ignoring the shouting of politicians and focusing on the text of the law rather than the clamoring of politicians.

O’Connor deviated from William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia’s dissents in a majority judgment coauthored with Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. Regarding the sexual harassment case Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, O’Connor agreed with the majority decision that the school board was undoubtedly responsible for safeguarding a fifth-grade kid from unwelcome approaches from another student.

Retirement

On January 31, 2006, Sandra Day O’Connor stepped down from the bench. Sandy O’Connor wanted to spend more time with her husband, John Jay O’Connor, so she retired. The couple has three boys and has been married since 1952. She splits her time between Arizona and Washington, D.C.

Why is Sandra Day O’Connor influential?

Justice O’Connor is an unrivaled pioneer who has made an indelible mark on American history. Her legacy may be seen in various places, including the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute, which she created in 2009, intending to advance civil dialogue, civic involvement, and civics education.

Sandra Day O’Connor Institute

The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute was founded in 2009 by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to create a country where significant policy choices impacting our future are decided via a critical study of facts and informed involvement. The Institute’s numerous educational events, ranging from the Emerging Leaders Network and Distinguished Speakers Series to the annual History Dinner, Legacy Luncheon, and Problems and Answers Forums, provide a crucial, non-partisan venue for learning and discussion of pressing national issues. Thousands of people benefit from the Institute’s numerous programs each year.

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