Little Bits of History

The Supremes

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 27, 2010

Sandra Day O'Connor

September 25, 1981: The 102nd Associate Justice is sworn in to the Supreme Court of the United States and Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman to hold the post. Women were granted the right to vote by the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. It was proposed on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920, ten years before O’Connor was born.

O’Connor sat on the bench for nearly a quarter of a century, retiring on January 31, 2006. She was a moderate conservative and often cast the deciding vote in some of the most highly debated issues of the times. She was said by some to be the most powerful woman in America.

She obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University. She married in 1952 and has three sons. She served in various courts both as attorney and as judge prior to her nomination by President Ronald Reagan to the highest court.

Her time on the bench is difficult to define. She tested each case on an individual basis and strove to come to a practical conclusion. Over the decades, she tended to return power to individual states rather than keep power isolated at a national level. The Court is becoming more multi-cultural with Clarence Thomas being the first African-American Justice. And even though Justice O’Connor has retired, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is still on the bench.

“The more education a woman has, the wider the gap between men’s and women’s earnings for the same work.”

“A moment of silence is not inherently religious.”

“It is a measure of the framers’ fear that a passing majority might find it expedient to compromise 4th Amendment values that these values were embodied in the Constitution itself.” (4th Amendment deals with unreasonable searches)

“We pay a price when we deprive children of the exposure to the values, principles, and education they need to make them good citizens.”

“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.” – all from Sandra Day O’Connor

Also on this day, in 1997 Andy Green set a land speed record of 714.44 mph.

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