25.09.

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor: First Woman Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor: First Woman Appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 25 September 1981
  • The Supreme Court of the United States consists of nine judges (titled “justice”), who have life tenure, and can hold that position until they decide to retire. Therefore, some Supreme Court judges have held this position for over 30 years.

On this day in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

She was 51 years old at the time. Sandra Day O’Connor was born in Texas and grew up on a ranch in Arizona.  President Ronald Reagan nominated her to be the first woman Supreme Court justice in U.S. history (he had promised that during his election campaign).

The Supreme Court of the United States consists of nine judges (titled “justice”), who have life tenure, and can hold that position until they decide to retire.

Therefore, some Supreme Court judges have held this position for over 30 years, which is a very long time, especially compared to other key political positions in the United States.

Sandra Day O’Connor is an Episcopalian (the American form of Anglicanism), and made important decisions in the Supreme Court, especially due to the two polarized parties.

Namely, there are nine judges, and one vote is decisive when the judges are divided (4-4). Sandra held this position for 24 years, and decided to retire at the age of 75.

The current composition of the Supreme Court is interesting. There are three women. Six judges are Roman Catholics, and three judges are Jews. Five judges were Harvard students, three judges were  Yale students, and one judge was a Columbia University student in New York.

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