Sandra Day O'Connor
associate justice -- Supreme Court of the United States

1930 - ...

Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. President Ronald Reagan named her to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Potter Stewart in 1981.

As a Supreme Court justice, O'Connor has generally sided with conservative members of the court. But she has been sympathetic to liberal views on a small number of issues.

O'Connor was born in El Paso, Texas. She received a law degree from Stanford University in 1952. In 1965, she became an assistant attorney general of Arizona. In 1969, she was appointed to an unexpired term in the Arizona Senate. She won election to the state Senate in 1970, was reelected in 1972, and was Senate majority leader in 1973. O'Connor was elected a judge of a Maricopa County trial court in 1974. In 1979, the governor appointed her to the Arizona Court of Appeals, the second highest court in the state.

Contributor: Owen M. Fiss, LL.B., Sterling Prof. of Law, Yale Univ.
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