Language Arts, Reading, Reading Comprehension, Writing, Social Studies, United States History
Grade 5- 8
Students learn about the first female judge of the United States Supreme Court in honor of Women's History Month. They answer questions about the judicial branch of the United States government.
First Female Associate Justice
What does it take to be appointed to the highest court in the land? How long did Sandra prepare for her job? How did she have time to be a mother, a deputy attorney, assistant attorney general, a state senator, and a judge for 24 years?
From the time Sandra was a child living on a ranch in Arizona, she excelled at everything. She learned how to read by the time she was four, drove a truck at the age of eight, and could ride a horse with the best of them. Her parents knew that raising a little girl all by herself out in the middle of a huge ranch was going to be a tough job. When it was time for Sandra to go to school, her parents decided to send her to El Paso, the big city, to live with her grandparents, Mamie and Willis Wiley. Sandra would never live on the ranch full-time again. From a private school in El Paso to graduating third in her class at Stanford, Sandra was always an achiever. She worked very hard to be the best student she could be.
Sandra loved ranching and geology and does not remember why she chose law as a career. She did admit that studying the law kept her busy because there were so many ways of interpreting the law. While she was in college, she met her future husband, John O'Connor. After graduation, her husband was offered five positions in law firms, but Sandra could not find a job as an attorney.
No one wanted a woman. She was offered a position as a legal secretary. This roadblock did not stop her. She soon secured the job of Assistant Deputy County Attorney of San Mateo, California.
Sandra was always persistent. She was a quiet, organized, and efficient woman who never let anything fluster her. She was in control, no matter what happened to her or around her. Sandra said that she would prefer practicing law to being a head of state.
Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. In 1981, during Ronald Reagan's presidency, she succeeded the retiring Justice Potter Stewart.