Sandra Day O’Connor

Lived:March 26, 1930—December 1, 2023 (aged 93)
Career:U.S. Supreme Court, 1981-2006
Arizona Court of Appeals, 1979-1981
Maricopa County (Arizona) Superior Court, 1975-1979
Arizona State Senate, 1969-1975
Education:B.A. and LL.B., Stanford University

Sandra Day O'Connor served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from September 25, 1981, until her retirement in 2006. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, she was the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

O'Connor was born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas. She received her B.A. in economics in 1950 and her LL.B. in 1952 from Stanford University. She worked as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California from 1952-1953. She then served as a civilian attorney for Quartermaster Market Center, Frankfurt, Germany, from 1954-1957. She practiced law in Maryvale, Arizona, from 1958-1960, and served as assistant attorney general of Arizona from 1965-1969.

In 1969, O'Connor was appointed to fill a vacant seat in the Arizona Senate, and was then re-elected to two, two-year terms and became the first woman in the United States to serve as a state senate majority leader. In 1975, she was elected judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court where she served until 1979, when she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. She served on the Court of Appeals until her appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981.

President Barack Obama awarded Justice O’Connor with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on August 12, 2009. O’Connor passed away on Dec. 1, 2023.

More interviews and speeches can be found on the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute for American Democracy website.

CNN (2020, March 22). Sandra Day O'Connor Fast Facts. Retrieved on July 21, 2020, from

Supreme Court of the United States. (n.d.). Current members. Retrieved on July 22, 2020, from

Supreme Court of the United States. (n.d.). Current exhibitions: Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman on the Supreme Court. Retrieved on July 22, 2020, from