Sandra Day O'Connor

U.S. Supreme Court Justice / Jurist

Born: 26 March 1930
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas
Best known as: The first woman on the U.S Supreme Court

Name at birth: Sandra Day

Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman ever to sit on the United States Supreme Court. O'Connor earned undergraduate and law degrees from Stanford University and eventually settled in Arizona. She served the state as an assistant attorney general, state senator, and finally as a superior court judge. Governor Bruce Babbitt raised her to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979, and in 1981 President Ronald Reagan nominated her for the U.S. Supreme Court. She was confirmed by the Senate 99-0 and sworn in on 25 September 1981, becoming the first female justice in the court's history. Over time she earned a reputation on the bench as a moderate conservative and a key figure in court decisions related to the issue of abortion. On 1 July 2005 she announced her retirement, saying she would not return for the October session; she was succeeded by Samuel Alito in 2006.

Extra credit: She married John J. O'Connor III on 20 December 1952 in El Paso, Texas. They had met when both were law students at Stanford University. They had three children: Scott (born 1957), Jay (b. 1960), and Brian (b. 1962). John O'Connor developed Alzheimer's Disease late in life and was placed in a nursing home in 2007... On 19 July 2005, President George W. Bush nominated John G. Roberts, Jr. to replace O'Connor on the court, but before Roberts could be confirmed, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died; Roberts was nominated to the post of Chief Justice and President Bush nominated his confidante Harriet Miers to replace O'Connor. After resistance from the Senate, Miers withdrew her name and Judge Samuel Alito was then nominated and confirmed... O'Connor replaced Justice Potter Stewart, who retired on 3 July 1981 after 23 years on the court.. Other Reagan appointees to the Supreme Court included Antonin Scalia (1986) and Anthony Kennedy (1988)... The Supreme Court's second female justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, was appointed by Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on 10 August 1993.

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