Justice O’Connor got her undergraduate degree in Economics at Stanford University and earned her Law degree there as well. One very interesting experience she had while attending Stanford University was dating William Rehnquist, who later was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Nixon. He eventually became Chief Justice William Rehnquist, but he never quite totally accepted losing Sandra to John O’Connor.
Appointed by President Reagan to the Supreme Court in 1981, she served until 2006. O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the Court and the only one for many years. I didn’t always agree with her, but for the most part partisan politics rarely impacted her decisions. This is in striking contrast to today where politics all too often dominates the judicial decision-making process. Also in contrast to recent Supreme Court appointments, O’Connor was confirmed on a vote of 99-0, illustrating the solid support she had from both sides of the aisle.
Pro-choice supporters should always hold O’Connor in high esteem because on frequent occasions over her many years of service, she was not just the key vote that protected Roe v Wade, but her power behind the scenes was what kept other key Justices in line. Without her, Roe v Wade would have been struck down many years ago.
O’Connor, in a speech in the fall of 1990 on “Women in Power” said, “First step to getting power is to become visible to others and then put on an impressive show.” That message wasn’t just something that sounded good in a speech, but was really the creed she followed. From her work in the practice of law, to her service in the Arizona legislature when women were not supposed to bother men, to judicial appointments within Arizona and ultimately to the United States Supreme Court, was a force to be reckoned with. She was tall, athletic in build, and when she spoke up she was heard. Sandra Day O’Connor certainly left her mark on history.
“First” by Evan Thomas is a book I think you will enjoy. In addition, you will learn much about Sandra Day O’Connor, a woman who broke several glass ceilings, leading the way for many other talented women to succeed.