Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
(1930 -)The honorable Sandra Day O’Connor is an American jurist, and was the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1981. Born in El Paso, Texas, O'Connor realized her passion for the law at a young age. She chose to enroll in Stanford Law School and received her degree in 1952. Despite graduating near the top of her class at Stanford Law School, ranking just behind fellow Justice William Rehnquist, O’Connor was at first unable to find a job at a private law firm. Instead, she took a job as a deputy county attorney in California.
O'Connor and her husband eventually settled in Arizona to raise a family. She also began a small law firm at that time. A proponent of public service, O'Connor was involved in many local volunteer activities while living in Arizona. Prior to her ground-breaking appointment in 1981 by President Reagan, O’Connor served in Arizona as an assistant attorney general, state senator, and finally as a Superior Court judge and state appeals court judge. Although she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by a conservative president, her core legal philosophy has always been hard to define. She frequently became a swing vote on the court, siding with both the conservative faction and the more liberal side. O’Connor, who retired from the Supreme Court in 2006, remains a fervent advocate for fair and impartial courts.
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