Women’s History Month – Honoring Sandra Day O’Connor!
The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, Sandra Day O’Connor, began her career in the San Mateo Cistrict Attorney's Office...at a time when the only job offer she could get was secretarial. In 2015 she was inducted into the San Mateo County Women's Hall of Fame; a special celebration was held and she returned to San Mateo County to the courthouse where her career began.
Sandra, born on an Arizona ranch, attended school in El Paso to get a high quality education. When she completed high school early, she applied and was admitted into Stanford University at age 16. She finished her B.A. at 20 and applied and was admitted to Stanford Law School. She completed her law degree in just 2 years. After graduation, Sandra struggled to find work due to the bias against women attorneys. She would eventually accept a position as Deputy County Attorney in San Mateo County. Sandra got her first big break in 1965 when she got full-time position as an Assistant Attorney General in her home state of Arizona. In 1969 Sandra was appointed by Governor Jack Williams to become State Senator in Arizona. In 1972 after she was reelected she became the first woman to hold that position.
In 1981 President Reagan nominated Sandra to become the first female justice. She fought the discrimination or unequal treatment of women due to their gender. She helped protect the rights of young girls, make harassment unconstitutional and forced schools have a zero tolerance for such actions.
Sandra was regarded as the “swing vote” on the U.S. Supreme Court. She gained the respect of her colleagues on the Court and the public in general for her rulings that were based on the facts and merits of the case under consideration rather than her ideology as a conservative Republican. She served on the Supreme Court for twenty-five years where she left an enduring legacy.
In 2006, Sandra retired and began to focus on education. She founded a website called iCivic, which helps promote civic engagement and simplifies the learning experience for kids in middle school to foster their understanding of the roles of government.
Sandra Day O'Conner is one of the most extraordinary women in the United States.