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Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. A Republican, she was considered a moderate conservative and served for 24 years.
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Born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930, Sandra Day O'Connor was elected to two terms in the Arizona state senate. In 1981, Ronald Reagan nominated her as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and she received unanimous Senate approval. O'Connor made history as the first woman justice to serve on the Supreme Court. As a justice, O'Connor was as a key swing vote in many important cases, including the upholding of Roe v. Wade. She retired in 2006,
"The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender."
"We have a complex system of government. You have to teach it to every generation."
after serving for 24 years.
Born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas, Sandra Day O'Connor went on to become the first female justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1981. Long before she would weigh in on some of the nation's most pressing cases, she spent part of her childhood on her family's Arizona ranch. O'Connor was adept at riding and assisted with some of ranch duties. She later wrote about her rough and tumble childhood in her memoir, Lazy B: Growing Up a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, published in 2003.
After graduating from Stanford University in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Sandra Day O’Connor attended the university’s law school. She received her degree in 1952 -- a time when opportunities for female lawyers were very limited. At first, O'Connor struggled to find work as an attorney. She even worked for the county attorney for California's San Mateo county for free for a time just get her foot in the door and soon became the deputy county attorney there.
From 1954-'57, O'Connor served as a civilian laywer for the Quartermaster Masker Center in Frankfurt, Germany. She returned home in 1958 and settled in Arizona. There she first worked in private practice before returning to public service. O'Connor acted as the state's assistant attorney general for four years, from 1965-'69.
In Arizona, Sandra Day O'Connor worked as the assistant attorney general in the 1960s. In 1969, she made the move to state politics with an appointment by Governor Jack Williams to state senate to fill a vacancy. A conservative Republican, O'Connor won re-election twice. In 1974, she took on a different challenge. O'Connor ran for the position of judge in the Maricopa County Superior Court.
As a judge, Sandra Day O'Connor developed a solid reputation for being firm, but just. Outside of the courtroom, she remained involved in Republican politics. In 1979, O'Connor was selected to serve on the state's court of appeals. Only two years later, President Ronald Reagan nominated her for associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. O'Connor received unanimous approval from the U.S. Senate. She broke new ground for women in the legal field when she was sworn in as the first female justice on the Supreme Court.
As a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor was considered to be a moderate conservative. She tended to vote in line with her politically conservative nature, but she still considered her cases very carefully.
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