Sandra Day O'Connor

Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American retired attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. She was the first woman nominated and, subsequently, the first woman confirmed.[5] Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, she was considered the swing vote for the Rehnquist Court and the first few months of the Roberts Court.

Sandra Day O'Connor
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
In office
September 25, 1981  January 31, 2006[1][2]
Nominated byRonald Reagan
Preceded byPotter Stewart
Succeeded bySamuel Alito
23rd Chancellor of the College of William and Mary
In office
October 1, 2005  February 3, 2012
PresidentGene Nichol
Taylor Reveley
Preceded byHenry Kissinger
Succeeded byRobert Gates
Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals
for Division One
In office
December 14, 1979  September 25, 1981
Nominated byBruce Babbitt
Preceded byMary Schroeder
Succeeded bySarah D. Grant[3]
Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court for Division 31
In office
January 9, 1975  December 14, 1979
Preceded byDavid Perry
Succeeded byCecil Patterson[4]
Member of the Arizona Senate
In office
January 8, 1973  January 13, 1975
Preceded byHoward S. Baldwin
Succeeded byJohn Pritzlaff
Constituency24th district
In office
January 11, 1971  January 8, 1973
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byBess Stinson
Constituency20th district
In office
October 30, 1969  January 11, 1971
Preceded byIsabel Burgess
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Constituency8-E district
Personal details
Born
Sandra Day

(1930-03-26) March 26, 1930 (age 91)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
(m. 1952; died 2009)
Children3
RelativesAnn Day (sister)
EducationStanford University (BA, JD)
Signature

Prior to O'Connor's tenure on the Court, she was a judge and an elected official in Arizona, serving as the first female majority leader of a state senate as the Republican leader in the Arizona Senate.[6] Upon her nomination to the Court, O'Connor was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of a successor.[7] Samuel Alito was nominated to take her seat in October 2005 and joined the Court on January 31, 2006.

O'Connor most frequently sided with the Court's conservative bloc. She often wrote concurring opinions that limited the reach of the majority holding. Her majority opinions in landmark cases include Grutter v. Bollinger and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. She also wrote in part the per curiam majority opinion in Bush v. Gore, and was one of three co-authors of the lead opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

During her time on the court, some publications ranked O'Connor among the most powerful women in the world.[8][9] On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.[10]