By Geoffrey Huchel
Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court passed away December 1, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona from complications related to advanced dementia and a respiratory illness. She was 93.
Day O’Connor was a former attorney, earning her degree from Stanford Law School in 1952. While at Stanford, she met her future husband, John Jay O’Connor III. The couple would go on to marry in December 1952. While her husband was drafted, Day O’Connor decided to go with him to Germany and worked as a civilian attorney. Three years later, they returned to the States and settled in Arizona. Her political career began when she served as assistant Attorney General of Arizona from 1965-1969. In 1969, Day O’Connor filled a vacancy in the Arizona Senate, a position she ran for and won the election for the seat the following year. By 1973, she became the first woman to serve as Arizona’s or any state’s majority leader. From 1975-1979 she was the Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court for Division 31, then served as Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals from 1979-1981. Day O’Connor was selected by then-President Ronald Reagan to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, a seat she held from 1981-2006. After her retirement in 2006, Day O’Connor continued to speak and organize conferences on issues such as judicial independence, judicial accountability, and racial equality.
Ringside Report sends our condolences to Sandra Day O’Connor’s family during their time of grief.