description

She was born in El Paso, Texas, to Harry Alfred Day, a rancher, and Ada Mae (Wilkey). She grew up on a cattle ranch near Duncan, Arizona. She later wrote a book with her brother, H. Alan Day, Lazy B : Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American West (2002), about her childhood experiences on the ranch. For most of her early schooling, O'Connor lived in El Paso with her maternal grandmother, and attended public schools and the Radford School for Girls, a private school. She graduated sixth in her class at Austin High School in El Paso in 1946. She attended Stanford University, where she received her B.A. in economics in 1950. She continued at the Stanford Law School for her LL.B.. There, she served on the Stanford Law Review with its presiding editor in chief, future Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was the class valedictorian, and whom she briefly dated during law school. She has stated that she graduated third in her law school class, although Stanford's official position is that the law school did not rank students in 1952.

On December 20, 1952, six months after graduating from law school, she married John Jay O'Connor III. They had three sons: Scott, Brian, and Jay. Her husband suffered from Alzheimer's disease for nearly twenty years until his death in 2009, and she has become involved in raising awareness of the disease.

After graduation from law school, at least 40 law firms refused to interview her for a position as an attorney because she was a woman. She eventually found employment as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California, after she offered to work for no salary and without an office, sharing space with a secretary.

O'Connor served as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona 1965–69 until she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Arizona State Senate. She was re-elected to the State Senate in 1973 and became the first woman to serve as its Majority Leader. In 1975 she was elected to the Maricopa County Superior Court and in 1979 was elevated to the Arizona State Court of Appeals. She served on the Court of Appeals until 1981 when she was appointed to the Supreme Court.

Uploaded on 07.24.2014 by El Paso Museum of History

Accession no: 013-1994-039A

Central / Lincoln Park, (1940 - 1949), Meet El Pasoans

  • women
  • Politics
  • Law

Tag Women, Law, Politics

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Sandra Day O'Connor

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