The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the United States. Since its creation in 1789, 112 justices have served on the Court. Of these 112 justices, four of them are women. President Ronald Reagan appointed the first female justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, in 1981; she served for 25 years. Sandra Day O’Connor changed the face of women in politics. Men dominated the Supreme Court yet Sandra Day O’Connor made strides in feminist politics and women's rights by breaking the glass ceiling in the legal profession. She offered an unbiased point of view on many topics including abortion rights, the death penalty, and affirmative action.
O’Connor was born on March 26th, 1930 in Texas. She graduated Stanford University in 1950, where she studied economics. She then received her Bachelors of Law from Stanford Law School. She finished third in her class. After graduating law school she was denied interviews by many law firms solely because she was a woman.
As cited in Padavic and Reskin’s article Women and Men at Work, discrimination against women in the workplace was a serious issue. They suffered as a result of inferior titles, wages and respect. This “glass ceiling” made it extremely hard for woman to break into higher offices in government organizations, yet O’Conner remained persistent. She finally found a position as a deputy county attorney and began to thrive in the legal field; even landing a seat on the Arizona State Senate where she became the first woman to serve as the state’s Majority Leader. In 1979, she worked on Arizona’s Court of Appeals until she was ultimately appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981.
Sandra Day O’Connor made huge strides in the legal world by becoming the first female Supreme Court Justice. She made way for female justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan; all women that would follow in her footsteps and further break new ground for women in government. For almost 200 years men dominated the Supreme Court. Then in 1981, a 99-0 vote in Congress changed everything. O’Conner was voted in and it was obvious to all that a serious change was taking place.
Though winning a seat was a huge breakthrough for O’Conner, she still had much to prove. She even received major criticism for stating that she would only concern herself with feminist issues. In time, though, she began to concern herself with and even play a major role in guiding non-feminist issues, such as the death penalty; of which she is blatantly critical.
O’Connor played a huge part in cases directly affecting woman’s rights including education, employment, and abortion. O’Connor’s view on abortion rights varied with circumstances, but were generally favorable towards the female public’s desires. She was seen as the Supreme Court’s swing vote on all abortion issues.
O’Connor’s proactive view on woman’s rights helped forge the way for woman in the workplace. She inspired many woman to pursue their dream of working in the legal and...