Meeting Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

On June 21, 2004, I had the distinct honor of meeting one of my mentors after having been sworn into the Supreme Court of the United States. In1981 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to serve as a justice in the 191-year history of the Supreme Court of the United States. President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court on July 7, 1981. In September of 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor became the Supreme Court's 102 justice and the first female member.

Justice O'Connor proved to have a more moderate judicial philosophy than many anticipated. O'Connor received her law degree from Stanford in 1952. Upon graduation, she was at the top of her class, graduating third in a class of 102 students. O'Connor was just two places behind another future Supreme Court justice, William H. Rehnquist. Leading up to her appointment onto the Supreme Court, O'Connor had been the Senate majority leader of the Arizona Senate and was a Judge in the Arizona Court of Appeals.

One year into Sandra Day O'Connor's Supreme Court tenure, she authored one of her most famous opinions in Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan (1982). In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for a state nursing school to refuse to admit men. In a 1992 case against abortion rights, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, O'Connor was one of the majority who voted to keep abortion legal for women. In Bush v. Gore (2000), she joined the majority, ruling that the Florida recount should not continue. In July of 2005, Sandra Day O'Connor retired from the court, having served 24 terms as a Supreme Court Justice.