Supreme Court of the United States

Sandra Day O’Connor:
First Woman on the Supreme Court


Retirement

“As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as women see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we’ll all be better off for it.”

— Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Address to the 16th Annual Olin Conference: Women in Power, November 14, 1990

A bronze statue of Justice O’Connor on display at the Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix, Arizona.  She is depicted wearing her judicial robe, carrying a volume of the U.S. Reports, and standing on shards of glass that represent the ceilings she shattered during her career. A bronze statue of Justice O’Connor on display at the Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix, Arizona. She is depicted wearing her judicial robe, carrying a volume of the U.S. Reports, and standing on shards of glass that represent the ceilings she shattered during her career.
Photograph courtesy of Lisa Loeffler

Accomplishments off the Court

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court on January 31, 2006. During her retirement, she remained active as a tireless advocate for judicial independence and the Rule of Law throughout the world. She served on the Iraq Study Group and was a board member for the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative. Among her other activities, she served as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary, as a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, and as a board member of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the National Constitution Center, and the William H. Rehnquist Center.

In 2009, she founded iCivics, a web-based education project aimed at engaging middle school and high school students in civics. In recognition of her lifetime accomplishments, President Barack Obama awarded her the Nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on August 12, 2009.


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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stand with Justice O’Connor after she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama stand with Justice O’Connor after she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Official White House Photograph by Samantha Appleton
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Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to Justice O'Connor.
Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to Justice O’Connor.

 

 

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