Sandra Day O'Connor


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.) was nominated to be the first woman on the country’s highest court by President Ronald Reagan. She served from Sept. 25, 1981, until her retirement on Jan. 31, 2006, and during that time was often a crucial deciding vote in 5-4 decisions on some of the most controversial issues of our time. She is described as a moderate conservative who takes a pragmatic view of jurisprudence.

Justice O’Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930, and has long ties to Arizona, spending much of her childhood on the Lazy-B, a cattle ranch along the Arizona and New Mexico border near Duncan. She received her B.A. and LL.B. from Stanford University, but could not find a law firm willing to hire a woman when she graduated, and began her career volunteering in the County Attorney’s Office in San Mateo County, Calif., where she eventually became Deputy County Attorney. She married John Jay O’Connor III in 1952 and has three sons - Scott, Brian, and Jay. She returned to Arizona in 1957, and opened a practice in Maryvale, served as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona, in the Arizona State Senate, as a Judge in the Maricopa County Superior Court and on the Arizona Court of Appeals.

In March of 2006, the College of Law at Arizona State University was named in her honor, and she frequently speaks and teaches there.

B.S., Stanford University

J.D., Stanford University