Sandra Day O’Connor, the Arizona ranch girl who was a fixture in Arizona’s statehouse and judiciary before becoming the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, passed away this morning at the age of 93.
Born in El Paso, Texas, Justice O’Connor grew up on her family’s Arizona cattle ranch, learning to shoot and ride before she was eight. She attended Stanford Law School, and subsequently served as Arizona assistant attorney general. She was later appointed to a vacancy in the Arizona Senate, elected Superior Court judge, and appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. In 1981, President Reagan nominated her as the 102nd justice and the first female member of the U.S. Supreme Court. She has also been inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said of Justice O’Connor: “A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed a historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot.”