First Woman to Supreme Court

O'Coonor with Reagan

On September 25th,1981 Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first female judge on the Supreme Court. Mrs. O'Connor had been nominated by President Reagan. O'Connor paved the way for women and the court. By 2012 O'Connor who had retired could gaze on a court with 3 women judges.


Born in Texas, the daughter of a rancher Sandra Day went to Sanford University for both undergraduate and for a law degree. She served on the Law Review which whose editor in chief was William Rehnquist. After graduating she married a classmate John Jay O’Connor. Sandra Day O’Connor had trouble getting a job because of her gender. She initially worked for free and then worked for the US Army in Germany. From 1965 to 1969 O’Connor served as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona. In 1969 she was appointed to the Arizona Senate by the Governor after which she won a seat on her own. In 1974 she was elected to the Maricopa County Superior Court. She then went on to serve on the Arizona Court of Appeals.

President Reagan had pledged in his campaign that he would appoint a woman to the court. On July 7, 1981, Reagan announced the appointment of O’Connor to the court. On September 21 O’Connor was confirmed to the court by the Senate on a vote of 99-0.