The Supreme Court announced in a news release that retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice, had passed away at the age of 93 in Phoenix from complications stemming from advanced dementia and a respiratory ailment.
Who was Sandra Day O’Connor?
Born on March 26, 1930, Sandra Day O’Connor is a retired American lawyer, jurist, and former political figure best known for her eight years as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court, which ran from 1981 to 2006. Among other notable accomplishments, O’Connor is the first female justice of the United States Supreme Court.
She was known for providing well-researched opinions while serving as a judge, and her contributions are marked by moderation within conservative ideologies. O’Connor, who was first nominated by President Ronald Reagan, was a crucial swing vote on the Rehnquist Court and in the early Roberts Court months.
Sandra Day was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, on a large 198,000-acre family cattle ranch close to Duncan, Arizona. This is the story of her early years. The ranch was nine miles from the nearest paved road, and until Sandra was seven years old, there were no modern conveniences like electricity or running water.
Possessing a.22-caliber rifle and having learned to drive as soon as she could see over the dashboard, she grew up with practical skills. Sandra was raised by two younger siblings: Ann Day, who went on to become a member of the Arizona Legislature, and H. Alan Day, who wrote a book detailing their ranch upbringing.
Sandra Day O’Connor Career and Educational Background
Sandra attended the private Radford School for Girls in El Paso for her first education. She lived on the ranch and travelled 32 miles a day to school in the eighth grade. Her academic prowess persisted, and in 1946, she graduated from Austin High School in El Paso, sixth in her class.
Amazingly, Sandra enrolled at Stanford University when she was 16 years old, graduating with a B.A. in economics in 1950 with honours. She pursued academic excellence all the way to Stanford Law School, where she worked with William Rehnquist, the future chief justice of the Supreme Court, on the Stanford Law Review. But when Rehnquist moved to Washington, D.C., and graduated early, their relationship came to an end.
Before Sandra Day O’Connor assumed her role on the Supreme Court, she had a distinguished career as a judge and elected official in Arizona. Notably, she made history by becoming the first female majority leader of a state senate, serving as the Republican leader in the Arizona Senate. This milestone highlighted her trailblazing achievements in state politics.
Upon her nomination to the Supreme Court, O’Connor encountered widespread support, securing a unanimous confirmation by the Senate. However, on July 1, 2005, she announced her decision to retire, contingent upon the confirmation of her successor. The subsequent nomination of Samuel Alito in October 2005 marked the beginning of the transition, and he officially joined the Court on January 31, 2006.
How rich is Sandra Day O’Connor?
Sandra Day O’Connor had an estimated net worth of $8 million at the time of her death in 2023 at the age of 93, according to reports. Her long legal career, 25 years as a Supreme Court justice, and various board positions and speaking engagements after retiring from the bench provided the majority of her wealth.