U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1993-2020)
SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR
Sandra Day O'Connor was born in El Paso, Texas on March 26, 1930. After graduating from high school in 1946 at the age of 16, she was accepted to Stanford University. O’Connor excelled and became Senior Class President at Stanford. In a program in which she finished two degrees in just six years instead of seven, she graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in economics and received her law degree in 1952. While in law school, she was a member of the board of editors for the Stanford Law Review, a very high honor for a law student. After graduating she took a position as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California. During this time, she also married John O'Connor, who was one class behind her at Stanford. Upon his completion of law school, the couple moved to Germany, where he served as an attorney in the U.S. Army. She then worked as a civilian attorney, specializing in contracts. Upon their return to the U.S. they settled in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. O'Connor and another lawyer opened a law office in suburban Maryvale; but for the next few years she devoted most of her time to raising her three sons, who were born between 1957 and 1962. In 1965, O'Connor returned to full-time employment as one of Arizona's assistant attorneys general, to assist the chief law officer in the state. In 1969, the state senator from her legislative district resigned, leading Governor Jack Williams (1909–1998) to appoint O'Connor to replace the vacant seat. When the position next became open for election in 1970, O'Connor won it and was easily reelected in 1972. She was chosen as the Republican majority leader by her colleagues in the state senate in 1972, the first woman in the country to hold that position. In 1974, O'Connor chose to leave the state senate and legislature to enter the judicial branch of government, becoming a county judge in the Maricopa County Superior Court. In 1979 the governor of Arizona elevated her with an appointment to the Arizona Court of Appeals. In July 1981, President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to The Supreme Court and the Senate quickly confirmed her 99-0 making her the first female justice. During her Supreme Court tenure which spanned nearly a quarter century, she played a crucial role in many key decisions, and was highly regarded as an independent thinker and a leader on the court. O’Connor retired on January 31, 2006.
"Work at work worth doing. That was my goal."