|By Torrey Mann
Sandra Day O’Connor was born on March 26, 1930 in El Paso, Texas. She grew up on her family’s 198,000 acre cattle ranch. In 1952, she graduated from Stanford Law School and married fellow law student John O’Connor. The O’Connors settled in Phoenix, Arizona.
O’Connor served as an Arizona assistant attorney general from 1965 to 1969, when she was appointed to a vacancy in the Arizona Senate. In 1974, she ran successfully for trial judge, a position she held until she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979. Eighteen months later, on July 7, 1981 President Ronald Reagan nominated her to the Supreme Court. In September 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the Court’s 102nd justice and its first female member.
Her votes are generally conservative, but she frequently surprises observers with her political independence. A quietly determined woman who has blazed new trails for her sex, Sandra Day O’Connor has become a role model for Americans of both sexes and all ages.
Memberships in Professional Organizations
Civic and Other Activities
Member, Anglo-American Exchange, 1980; Chairman, Arizona Supreme Court Committee to Reorganize Lower Courts, 1974-75; Chairman, Maricopa County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, 1960-62; former member, State Bar of Arizona Committees on Legal Aid, Public Relations, Lower Court Reorganization, Continuing Legal Education; Chairman, Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Home Visiting Board, 1963-64; Chairman, Maricopa County Superior Court Judges’ Training and Education Committee, 1977-79; member, National Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, 1974-76; member, Arizona State Personnel Commission, 1968-69; Vice Chairman, Arizona Select Law Enforcement Review Commission, 1979-80; member, Maricopa County Board of Adjustments and Appeals, 1963