Sandra Day O'connor, Supreme Court Justice, Biography

Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman nominated to the United States Supreme Court. Ronald Reagan's Supreme Court nominee, the conservative Republican O'Connor has been the deciding vote in many controversial cases.

In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first female Supreme Court Justice. O'Connor was the one hundred and second Supreme Court Justice. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

Sandra Day O'Connor was born in El Paso, Texas in 1930. She attended Stanford University in California and graduated in five years with both her undergraduate and her law degrees. In addition, she graduated in the top ten percent of her class.

Sandra Day graduated from Stanford in 1950 with a BA, and in 1952 with her law degree. She married John O'Connor the year of her law school graduation. The first job offers she got after law school were as a legal secretary. Although she did manage to find work as Deputy County Attorney in San Mateo County, California in 1952, she resigned from that job a year later to follow her husband to where he was stationed with the Army. That brought her to Germany where she was a civilian attorney for Quartermaster Market Center in Frankfurt from 1954 to 1957. She had a private law practice in Maryvale, Arizona from 1958 to 1960.

By 1965, the O'Connors had produced three sons, Scott, Brian and Jay. She worked as an assistant Attorney General for State of Arizona from 1965 to 1968.

O'Connor was an active Republican when the family moved to Arizona. In 1969 she was appointed to fill a vacancy left by another woman on the state senate. She ran on her own thereafter and was elected in 1970 and 1972. She eventually became the youngest state majority leader in the Arizona State Senate as well as the first woman majority leader in any state legislature. She served as chair of the State, County, and Municipal Affairs Committee in 1972 and 1973.

In 1974 O'Connor was elected judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court, Phoenix, Arizona where she served from 1975 to1979. Afterwards she was appointed to the State Court of Appeals by Governor Bruce Babbitt. In 1981, Ronald Reagan nominated her to the US Supreme Court on July 7, 1981. She was sworn in on September 25, 1981.

O'Connor's nomination process went smoothly. She gave carefully considered and worded responses to hot button topics like abortion. She was expected to vote conservatively on most issues, but this has not always been the case. She has often been the swing vote in controversial cases, including the one to overturn Roe vs. Wade. She voted with the majority to keep the law in place.

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