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. 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|
September 25, 1981 – January 31, 2006
|Nominated by||Ronald Reagan|
|Preceded by||Potter Stewart|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Alito|
|23rd Chancellor of the College of William and Mary|
October 1, 2005 – February 3, 2012
|Preceded by||Henry Kissinger|
|Succeeded by||Robert Gates|
|Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals|
for Division One
December 14, 1979 – September 25, 1981
|Nominated by||Bruce Babbitt|
|Preceded by||Mary Schroeder|
|Succeeded by||Sarah D. Grant|
|Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court for Division 31|
January 9, 1975 – December 14, 1979
|Preceded by||David Perry|
|Succeeded by||Cecil Patterson|
|Member of the Arizona Senate|
January 8, 1973 – January 13, 1975
|Preceded by||Howard S. Baldwin|
|Succeeded by||John Pritzlaff|
January 11, 1971 – January 8, 1973
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Bess Stinson|
October 30, 1969 – January 11, 1971
|Preceded by||Isabel Burgess|
|Succeeded by||Constituency abolished|
March 26, 1930
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
(m. 1952; died 2009)
|Relatives||Ann Day (sister)|
|Education||Stanford University (BA, JD)|
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. 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. 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. On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.