Sandra Day O'Connor
U.S. Supreme Court justice
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the latter years of her tenure, she was regarded as having the swing vote in many cases. Prior to O'Connor's appointment to the Court, she was an elected official and judge in Arizona.
Biography
Sandra Day O'Connor's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Sandra Day O'Connor from around the web
Happy Birthday, Dr. King: The Urgent Need For A New Civil Rights Movement
Huffington Post - about 1 month
As one whose life was positively and profoundly impacted by the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the national holiday honoring King's life and legacy has particular relevance for me and millions of my fellow baby boomers. This hard-won federal holiday was the culmination of 15 years of passionate and persistent advocacy by members of Congress, civil rights activists, student leaders, and entertainers, among other groups. Internationally acclaimed recording artist and activist, Stevie Wonder, played a monumental role in keeping alive the demand for the King Holiday. In 1981, Stevie released one of his most popular recordings ever, "Happy Birthday," a song in which he made the case for establishing the Martin Luther King, Jr. annual holiday. Much to the surprise of many, it was President Ronald Reagan who signed the MLK holiday legislation into law on November 2, 1983, nearly two years after being sworn in as the 40th president of the United Stat ...
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Huffington Post article
[$$] Civics Game Advanced by Former Justice Is Classroom Hit
Yahoo News - 3 months
Amid a contentious presidential campaign, a civics videogame from a group founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor got a lot of play in New York and New Jersey classrooms.
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Yahoo News article
Summer of Sandra Day O'Connor, then and now
CNN - 6 months
She always insisted it was luck that led to her appointment as the first woman on the US Supreme Court. But Sandra Day O'Connor was ready for her luck. She demonstrated that 35 years ago this summer when Reagan administration lawyers flew to Arizona to interview her as one of several candidates for a court vacancy.
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CNN article
Contributing Op-Ed Writer: When Sandra Day O’Connor Broke Into the Men’s Club
NYTimes - 7 months
Young people who find the nomination of a woman to be president unremarkable have no idea what it meant to see a woman named to the Supreme Court.
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NYTimes article
How to Prepare for An Asian American Justice
Huffington Post - 9 months
All Americans should care about a functioning Supreme Court. Asian Americans have specific reasons to support a fair hearing of the nominee for the current opening, Judge Merrick Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, President Barack Obama considered various potential appointees. He has named Judge Garland. Under the Constitution, the Senate has the responsibility of dispensing "advice and consent" for high-level roles within the federal government. That has been interpreted as meaning it holds hearings and then "confirms" an individual to allow them to take office. They are supposed to consider the White House selection, but they could turn down that individual -- in which case the procedure is for another person to be put forward until agreement is reached. It has not been uncommon to set aside partisan differences, respecting tradition and the need for work to be done, and past administrations on both sid ...
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Huffington Post article
A Supreme Court Pioneer, Now Making Her Mark on Video Games
NYTimes - 11 months
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said she had never played video games until a few years ago. But now she is using them to teach students valuable civics lessons.
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NYTimes article
How Three Fierce Female Justices Took Over The Supreme Court
Huffington Post - 12 months
When the Supreme Court last heard oral arguments in a landmark abortion case, it was April 1992, the case was Planned Parenthood v Casey, and Sandra Day O’Connor was the lone female justice. Twenty-four years later, there are three women on the court. And if you count Justice Stephen Breyer as one of history’s great feminists -- and I do -- then you can view the arguments in this term’s landmark abortion case, Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, as creating a neat 4–4 split. On one side, you have a group of testy male justices needling a female lawyer for Texas clinics about whether it was even appropriate for them to hear this appeal. On the other, you’ve got four absolutely smoking hot feminists pounding on Texas’ solicitor general for passing abortion regulations that have no plausible health purpose and also seem pretty stupid. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but ...
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Huffington Post article
Sandra Day O'Connor: 'Get on with it'
CNN - about 1 year
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says President Barack Obama should name Antonin Scalia's replacement.
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CNN article
Supreme Irony: GOP Peddles Denial of Justice!
Huffington Post - about 1 year
"Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied" ---(Attributed: William Gladstone, Dr. Martin Luther King, The Talmud, Magna Carta et al) The Constitution of the United States of America Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 The President shall nominate, and, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States... Republicans have shown enormous respect for the Constitution of the United States of America and their hero Associate Justice Antonin Scalia by instantly using his death to demand that President Obama ignore the Constitution for the next 340 DAYS (93% of the 8th year of his elected presidential term) and NOT fulfill his constitutional obligation to appoint an Associate Justice to replace Justice Scalia. In December 1987, President Ronald Reagan had 415 days left of his second presidential term and faced a Senate with a Democratic majority 55-45 ...
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Huffington Post article
My Q And A With Gretchen Rubin on Making and Breaking Habits
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Gretchen Rubin has a gift for adding value to her readers' lives and opening up the conversation on everything from productivity to the meaning of happiness. Her new book, out today, is Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits -- to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life. In answer to my questions, she shared her insights on how habits can free us, the importance of understanding ourselves, and the 21 strategies we can use to make or break habits -- and in doing so, begin to live the lives we want, not the lives we settle for. Q) How did you get the idea to write your book, Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits -- to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life? A) For years, I'd been researching, writing, and talking to people about happiness, and I began to notice a pattern. When people talked about a big happiness challenge in their lives, they ...
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Huffington Post article
Here's What You Missed At The Big, Crazy Affirmative Action Hearing
Huffington Post - about 1 year
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard nearly 90 minutes of oral arguments in a case that could permanently curtail the role of diversity in higher education. Chief Justice John Roberts opened the session in Fisher v. University of Texas by informing the parties they would have some extra time to make their arguments -- more than the usual one-hour slot allocated in other cases. Which meant more time for potential fireworks. And there were fireworks aplenty. At issue is the consideration of race in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, which for about 25 percent of its entering classes uses the applicant's racial background as one of many factors when making admission decisions. For the other 75 percent, the school adheres to a race-neutral Top 10 Percent plan, under which top-ranking students at high schools throughout Texas are guaranteed admission.  Here are some of the noteworthy quotes from Wednesday's hearing -- from the legal to the i ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Sandra Day O'Connor
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 85
    On February 17, 2016, O'Connor argued in favor of President Barack Obama naming the replacement for Antonin Scalia, opposing Republican arguments that the next president should get to fill the vacancy.
    More Details Hide Details She said, "I think we need somebody there to do the job now and let's get on with it"; and that "you just have to pick the best person you can under the circumstances, as the appointing authority must do. It's an important position and one that we care about as a nation and as a people. And I wish the president well as he makes choices and goes down that line. It's hard." As a Retired Supreme Court Justice (roughly equivalent to senior status for judges of lower federal courts), O'Connor has continued to receive a full salary, maintain a staffed office with at least one law clerk, and to hear cases on a part-time basis in federal district courts and courts of appeals as a visiting judge. In 2003, she wrote a book titled The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice (ISBN 0-375-50925-9).
  • 2015
    Age 84
    In March 2015, O'Connor's non-profit organization, O'Connor House, became the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute.
    More Details Hide Details The Institute's focus is to create an environment where important policy decisions are made through a process of civil discussion, critical analysis of facts and informed participation of all citizens. O'Connor serves as Founder and Advisor to the O'Connor Institute. 'Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.' But our understanding today must go beyond the recognition that ‘liberty lies in (our) hearts’ to the further recognition that only citizens with knowledge about the content and meaning of our constitutional guarantees of liberty are likely to cherish those concepts." Additional information
  • 2014
    Age 83
    On September 17, 2014 O'Connor appeared on the television show Jeopardy! and provided a couple of video answers to the category 'Supreme Court' which appeared on the show.
    More Details Hide Details On the same day in Concord, New Hampshire, she gave a talk alongside her former colleague Justice David Souter about the importance of meaningful civics education in the United States.
  • 2013
    Age 82
    In April 2013, the Board of Directors of Justice at Stake, a national judicial reform advocacy organization, announced that O'Connor would be joining the organization as Honorary Chair.”
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    She wrote the 2013 book Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court.
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  • 2010
    Age 79
    During the inauguration of Mesa Municipal Court on April 16, 2010, she gracefully received a blessed garland – along with a copy of Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is from Dr. Prayag Narayan Misra – a Hare Krishna devotee.
    More Details Hide Details She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, which is a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution.
  • 2009
    Age 78
    On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Barack Obama.
    More Details Hide Details She was born in El Paso, Texas, to Harry Alfred Day, a rancher, and Ada Mae (Wilkey). Her sister was Ann Day, who served in the Arizona Legislature. She grew up on a cattle ranch near Duncan, Arizona where she had to change automobile flat tires herself in dangerous environments. She later wrote a book with her brother, H. Alan Day, Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American West (2002), about her childhood experiences on the ranch. For most of her early schooling, O'Connor lived in El Paso with her maternal grandmother, and attended school at the Radford School for Girls, a private school.
    On March 3, 2009, O'Connor appeared on the satirical television program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to promote the website.
    More Details Hide Details In August 2009, http://ourcourts.org/ added two online interactive games. The initiative expanded, becoming iCivics in May 2010, and continues to offer free lessons plans, games, and interactive videogames for middle and high school educators.
    In February 2009, O'Connor launched Our Courts, a website she created to offer interactive civics lessons to students and teachers because she was concerned about the lack of knowledge among most young Americans about how their government works.
    More Details Hide Details She also serves as a co-chair with Lee H. Hamilton for the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.
    In 2009, O'Connor founded the 501(c)3 non-profit organization, O'Connor House, dedicated to solving complex issues through civil discourse and collaborative action.
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  • 2008
    Age 77
    On August 7, 2008, O'Connor and Abdurrahman Wahid, the former President of Indonesia, wrote an editorial in the Financial Times stating their concerns about the threatened imprisonment of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
    More Details Hide Details On November 19, 2008, O'Connor published an introductory essay to a themed issue on judicial accountability in the Denver University Law Review. She calls for a better public understanding of judicial accountability. On January 26, 2010, O'Connor issued her own polite public dissent to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision on corporate political spending, telling law students that the court has created an unwelcome new path for wealthy interests to exert influence on judicial elections.
    On April 22, 2008, she gave "Harry's Last Lecture on a Meaningful Life" in honor of the former Stanford Law professor who shaped her undergraduate and law careers.
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    In 2008, O'Connor was named an inaugural Harry Rathbun Visiting Fellow by the Office for Religious Life at Stanford University.
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  • 2007
    Age 76
    In the fall of 2007, O'Connor and W.
    More Details Hide Details Scott Bales taught a course at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.
    O'Connor chaired the Jamestown 2007 celebration, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the colony at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.
    More Details Hide Details Her appearances in Jamestown dovetailed with her appearances and speeches as chancellor at The College of William & Mary nearby.
  • 2006
    Age 75
    On October 31, Bush nominated Third Circuit Judge Samuel Alito to replace O'Connor; Alito was confirmed and sworn in on January 31, 2006.
    More Details Hide Details O'Connor's last Court opinion, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New England, written for a unanimous court, was a procedural decision that involved abortion. She stated that she planned to travel, spend time with family, and, because of her fear of the attacks on judges by legislators, would work with the American Bar Association on a commission to help explain the separation of powers and the role of judges. She also announced that she was working on a new book, which will focus on the early history of the Court. She is a trustee on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation. She stated that she would have preferred to stay on the Court for several more years but stepped down to spend more time with her husband, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease prior to his death in 2009. O'Connor said it was her plan to follow the tradition of previous justices, who enjoy lifetime appointments. "Most of them get ill and are really in bad shape, which I would've done at the end of the day myself, I suppose, except my husband was ill and I needed to take action there."'
    In October 2006, O'Connor sat as a member of panels of the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits, to hear arguments in one-day's cases in each court.
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    As of Spring 2006, O'Connor teaches a two-week course called "The Supreme Court" at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law every spring semester.
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    On May 15, 2006, O'Connor gave the commencement address at the William & Mary School of Law, where she said that judicial independence is "under serious attack at both the state and national level".
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    O'Connor was a member of the 2006 Iraq Study Group, appointed by the U.S. Congress.
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    On September 28, 2006, O'Connor co-hosted and spoke at a conference at Georgetown University Law Center, Fair and Independent Courts: A Conference on the State of the Judiciary.
    More Details Hide Details Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., a conservative jurist, has criticized O'Connor's speeches and op-eds for hyperbole and factual inaccuracy, based in part on O'Connor's opinions as to whether judges face a rougher time in the public eye today than in the past. On November 7, 2007, at a conference on her landmark opinion in Strickland v. Washington (1984) sponsored by the Constitution Project, O'Connor urged the creation of a system for "merit selection for judges". She also highlighted the lack of proper legal representation for many of the poorest defendants.
    On September 19, 2006, she echoed her concerns for an independent judiciary during the dedication address at the Elon University School of Law.
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    On March 9, 2006, during a speech at Georgetown University, O'Connor said some political attacks on the independence of the courts pose a direct threat to the constitutional freedoms of Americans.
    More Details Hide Details She said "any reform of the system is debatable as long as it is not motivated by 'nakedly partisan reasoning' retaliation because congressmen or senators dislike the result of the cases. Courts interpret the law as it was written, not as the congressmen might have wished it was written", and "it takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."
  • 2005
    Age 74
    On October 4, 2005, President Gene Nichol of the College of William & Mary announced that O'Connor had accepted the largely ceremonial role of becoming the 23rd Chancellor of the College, replacing Henry Kissinger, and following in the position held by Margaret Thatcher, Chief Justice Warren Burger, and President George Washington. The Investiture Ceremony was held April 7, 2006.
    More Details Hide Details O'Connor continued to make semi-regular visits to the college until she was succeeded in that post by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. In 2005, she wrote a children's book, Chico (ISBN 0-525-47452-8), which gives an autobiographical description of her childhood.
    O'Connor had been expected to leave the Court before the next term started on October 3, 2005.
    More Details Hide Details However, Rehnquist died on September 3 (she spoke at his funeral). Two days later, Bush withdrew Roberts as his nominee for her seat and instead appointed him to fill the vacant office of Chief Justice. O'Connor agreed to stay on the Court until her replacement was confirmed. On October 3, Bush nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers to replace O'Connor. After much criticism and controversy over her nomination, on October 27, Miers asked Bush to withdraw her nomination. Bush accepted her request later the same day.
    However, on July 1, 2005, it was O'Connor who announced her retirement plans.
    More Details Hide Details In her letter to Bush she stated that her retirement from active service would take effect upon the confirmation of her successor. On July 19, Bush nominated D.C. Circuit Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. to succeed O'Connor. O'Connor heard the news over the car radio on the way back from a fishing trip. She felt he was an excellent and highly qualified choice — he had argued numerous cases before the Court during her tenure. However, she was terribly disappointed her replacement was not a woman. On July 21, O'Connor spoke to a Ninth Circuit conference and blamed the televising of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for escalated conflicts over judges. She expressed sadness over attacks on the independent judiciary, and praised President Reagan for opening doors for women.
  • 2003
    Age 72
    O'Connor was a vigorous defender of the citing of foreign laws in judicial decisions. In a well-publicized October 28, 2003, speech at the Southern Center for International Studies, O'Connor said: The impressions we create in this world are important and can leave their mark...
    More Details Hide Details There is talk today about the "internationalization of legal relations". We are already seeing this in American courts, and should see it increasingly in the future. This does not mean, of course, that our courts can or should abandon their character as domestic institutions. But conclusions reached by other countries and by the international community, although not formally binding upon our decisions, should at times constitute persuasive authority in American courts—what is sometimes called "transjudicialism". In the speech she noted the 2002 Court case, Atkins v. Virginia, in which the majority decision (which included her) cited disapproval of the death penalty in Europe as part of its argument. This speech, and the general concept of relying on foreign law and opinion, was widely criticized by conservatives. In May 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives responded by passing a non-binding resolution, the "Reaffirmation of American Independence Resolution", stating that "U.S. judicial decisions should not be based on any foreign laws, court decisions, or pronouncements of foreign governments unless they are relevant to determining the meaning of American constitutional and statutory law."
    In 2003 Justice O'Connor authored a majority Supreme Court opinion (Grutter v. Bollinger) saying racial affirmative action wouldn't be constitutional permanently but long enough to correct past discrimination ─ an approximation limit of around 25 years, or until 2028.
    More Details Hide Details In her confirmation hearings and early days on the court, O'Connor was carefully ambiguous on the issue of abortion, as some conservatives questioned her pro-life credentials on the basis of some of her votes in the Arizona legislature. O'Connor generally dissented from 1980s opinions which took an expansive view of Roe v. Wade; she criticized that decision's "trimester approach" sharply in her dissent in 1983's City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health. She criticized Roe in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "... I dispute not only the wisdom but also the legitimacy of the Court's attempt to discredit and pre-empt state abortion regulation regardless of the interests it serves and the impact it has." In 1989, O'Connor stated during the deliberations over the Webster case that she would not overrule Roe. While on the Court, O'Connor did not vote to strike down any restrictions on abortion until Hodgson v. Minnesota in 1990.
  • 2000
    Age 69
    On December 12, 2000, The Wall Street Journal reported that O'Connor was reluctant to retire with a Democrat in the presidency: "At an Election Night party at the Washington, D.C. home of Mary Ann Stoessel, widow of former Ambassador Walter Stoessel, the justice's husband, John O'Connor, mentioned to others her desire to step down, according to three witnesses.
    More Details Hide Details But Mr. O'Connor said his wife would be reluctant to retire if a Democrat were in the White House and would choose her replacement. Justice O'Connor declined to comment." By 2005, the membership of the Court had been static for eleven years, the second-longest period without a change in the Court's composition in American history. Rehnquist was widely expected to be the first justice to retire during Bush's term, because of his age and his battle with cancer.
    In this pair of cases, the University of Michigan's undergraduate admissions program was held to have engaged in unconstitutional reverse discrimination, but the more-limited type of affirmative action in the University of Michigan Law School's admissions program was held to have been constitutional.; Zelman v. Simmons-Harris,: O'Connor joined the majority holding that the use of school vouchers for religious schools did not violate the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.; Bush v. Gore,: O'Connor joined with four other justices on December 12, 2000, to rule on the Bush v. Gore case that ceased challenges to the results of the 2000 presidential election (ruling to stop the ongoing Florida election recount and to allow no further recounts).
    More Details Hide Details This case effectively ended Gore's hopes to become president. Some legal scholars have argued that she should have recused herself from this case, citing several reports that she became upset when the media initially announced that Gore had won Florida, with her husband explaining that they would have to wait another four years before retiring to Arizona. O'Connor played an important role in other notable cases, such as:; Webster v. Reproductive Health Services,: This decision upheld as constitutional state restrictions on second trimester abortions that are not necessary to protect maternal health, contrary to the original trimester requirements in Roe v. Wade. Although O'Connor joined the majority, which also included Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy and Byron White, in a concurring opinion she refused to explicitly overturn Roe. On February 22, 2005, with Rehnquist and Stevens (who was senior to her) absent, she presided over oral arguments in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, becoming the first woman to preside over an oral argument before the Court.
  • 1996
    Age 65
    In 1996's Shaw v. Hunt and Shaw v. Reno, O'Connor joined a Rehnquist opinion, following an earlier path-breaking decision she authored in 1993, in which the court struck down an electoral districting plan designed to facilitate the election of two black representatives out of twelve from North Carolina, a state that had not had any black representative since Reconstruction, despite being approximately 20% black—the Court held that the districts were unacceptably gerrymandered and O'Connor called the odd shape of the district in question, North Carolina's 12th, "bizarre".
    More Details Hide Details Law Professor Herman Schwartz called O'Connor "the Court’s leader in its assault on racially oriented affirmative action," although she joined with the Court in upholding the constitutionality of race-based admissions to universities. In late 2008, O'Connor said she believed racial affirmative action should continue to help heal the inequalities created by racial discrimination. She stressed this wouldn't be a cure-all but rather a bandage and that society has to do much more to correct our racial imbalance.
  • 1991
    Age 60
    In the 1991 Freeman v. Pitts case, O'Connor joined a concurring opinion in a plurality, agreeing that a school district that had formerly been under judicial review for racial segregation could be freed of this review, even though not all desegregation targets had been met.
    More Details Hide Details Law professor Herman Schwartz criticized these rulings, writing that in both cases "both the fact and effects of segregation were still present."
  • FIFTIES
  • 1990
    Age 59
    In the 1990 and 1995 Missouri v. Jenkins rulings, O'Connor voted with the majority that district courts had no authority to require the state of Missouri to increase school funding in order to counteract racial inequality.
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  • 1987
    Age 56
    In 1987's McCleskey v. Kemp, O'Connor joined a 5–4 majority that voted to uphold the death penalty for an African American man, Warren McCleskey, convicted of killing a white police officer, despite statistical evidence that black defendants were more likely to receive the death penalty than others both in Georgia and in the U.S. as a whole.
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  • 1983
    Age 52
    According to George Washington University law professor Jeffrey Rosen, "O'Connor was an eloquent opponent of intrusive group searches that threatened privacy without increasing security. In a 1983 opinion upholding searches by drug-sniffing dogs, she recognized that a search is most likely to be considered constitutionally reasonable if it is very effective at discovering contraband without revealing innocent but embarrassing information."
    More Details Hide Details Washington College of Law law professor Andrew Taslitz, referencing O'Connor's dissent in a 2001 case, said of her Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: "O'Connor recognizes that needless humiliation of an individual is an important factor in determining Fourth Amendment reasonableness."
  • 1981
    Age 50
    Reagan wrote in his diary on July 6, 1981: "Called Judge O'Connor and told her she was my nominee for supreme court.
    More Details Hide Details Already the flak is starting and from my own supporters. Right to Life people say she is pro abortion. She says abortion is personally repugnant to her. I think she'll make a good justice." On September 21, O'Connor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate with a vote of 99–0; Senator Max Baucus of Montana was absent from the vote, and sent O'Connor a copy of A River Runs Through It by way of apology. In her first year on the Court she received over 60,000 letters from the public, more than any other justice in history. In response to an editorial in The New York Times which mentioned the "nine old men" of the Court, the self-styled FWOTSC (First Woman On The Supreme Court) sent a pithy letter to the editor: I noticed the following.:
    Reagan formally nominated O'Connor on August 19, 1981.
    More Details Hide Details Pro-life and religious groups opposed O'Connor's nomination because they suspected, correctly, she would not be willing to overturn Roe v Wade. U.S. Senate Republicans, including Don Nickles of Oklahoma, Steve Symms of Idaho, and Jesse Helms of North Carolina called the White House to express their discontent over the nomination; Nickles said he and "other profamily Republican senators would not support" O'Connor. Helms, Nickles, and Symms nevertheless voted for the nomination. Conservative activists such as the Reverend Jerry Falwell, Howard Phillips, and Peter Gemma, also spoke out against the nomination. Gemma called the nomination "a direct contradiction of the Republican platform to everything that candidate Reagan said and even President Reagan has said in regard to social issues." Gemma, the executive director of the National Pro-Life Political Action Committee, had sought to delay O'Connor's confirmation by challenging her record, including support for the Equal Rights Amendment.
    She served on the Court of Appeals-Division One until 1981 when she was appointed to the Supreme Court. On July 7, 1981, Reagan – who had pledged during his 1980 presidential campaign to appoint the first woman to the Court – announced he would nominate O'Connor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, to replace the retiring Potter Stewart.
    More Details Hide Details O'Connor received notification from President Reagan of her nomination on the day prior to the announcement and did not know that she was a finalist for the position.
  • FORTIES
  • 1974
    Age 43
    In 1974 she was elected to the Maricopa County Superior Court serving from 1975 to 1979 when she was elevated to the Arizona State Court of Appeals.
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  • 1973
    Age 42
    She was elected to the State Senate in 1973 and became the first woman to serve as its Majority Leader.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1965
    Age 34
    O'Connor served as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona from 1965 to 1969 until she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Arizona State Senate.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1952
    Age 21
    On December 20, 1952, six months after graduating from law school, she married John Jay O'Connor III.
    More Details Hide Details They had three sons: Scott, Brian, and Jay. Her husband suffered from Alzheimer's disease for nearly twenty years until his death in 2009, and she has become involved in raising awareness of the disease. After graduation from law school, at least forty law firms refused to interview her for a position as an attorney because she was a woman. She eventually found employment as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California, after she offered to work for no salary and without an office, sharing space with a secretary.
    She has stated that she graduated third in her law school class, although Stanford's official position is that the law school did not rank students in 1952.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1950
    Age 19
    She attended Stanford University, where she received her B.A. in economics in 1950.
    More Details Hide Details She continued at the Stanford Law School for her LL.B.. There, she served on the Stanford Law Review with its presiding editor in chief, future Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was the class valedictorian, and whom she briefly dated during law school.
  • 1946
    Age 15
    She graduated sixth in her class at Austin High School in El Paso in 1946.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1930
    Born
    Born on March 26, 1930.
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