The Life of Sandra Day O'Connor

Click on any year for more detailed information.

Supreme Court cases marked with a star () below and throughout the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute Online Archive are Justice O'Connor's most commonly cited cases by legal scholars and Supreme Court observers.

Mar 26
Born in El Paso, Texas
Aug 10
Sister, Ann Day, is born
Jul 16
Witnesses the "Trinity test," the world's first nuclear explosion, from the Lazy B Ranch approximately 180 miles away
Enrolls at Stanford University
Jun 15
Graduates from Stanford Law School
Begins work as deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California
Begins work as civilian attorney for Army Quartermaster's Corps in Frankfurt, Germany
Son, Brian, is born
Son, Jay, is born
Begins work as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona
Nov 3
Elected Arizona State Senator for District 20

 1971 ← click any year for more detail

Sworn in as Arizona State Senator for District 20
Serves as Arizona co-chairman of President Richard Nixon re-election campaign
Elected Majority Leader of Arizona State Senate, becoming the first woman to hold that position in any state senate in the country
Jan 13
Sworn in as Maricopa County Superior Court Judge for Division 31

 1981 ← click any year for more detail

Swearing in for United States Supreme Court
Jul 1
Supreme Court Opinion: Mississippi Univ. for Women v. Hogan
Jun 15
Supreme Court Opinion: Akron v. Akron Ctr. for Reprod. Health
Mar 5
Supreme Court Opinion: Lynch v. Donnelly
Apr 9
Father, Harry "D.A." Day, dies, age 85
May 14
Supreme Court Opinion: Strickland v. Washington
Jun 4
Supreme Court Opinion: Wallace v. Jaffree
Jun 11
Oct 3
Diagnosed with breast cancer
Oct 21
Undergoes mastectomy operation
Nov 5
Begins chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer

 1989 ← click any year for more detail

Swears in Dan Quayle as Vice President of the United States
Jan 23
Supreme Court Opinion: City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co
Mother, Ada Mae "M.O." Wilkey Day, dies, age 85
Jun 19
Supreme Court Opinion: Missouri v. Jenkins
Jul 3
Supreme Court Opinion: Webster v. Reproductive Health Svcs
Ends treatment for breast cancer
Jun 25
Supreme Court Opinion: Hodgson v. Minnesota
Jun 27
Supreme Court Opinion: Metro Broadcasting v. FCC
Jun 19
Supreme Court Opinion: New York v. United States
Jun 29
Jun 28
Supreme Court Opinion: Shaw v. Reno
Jun 29

 1999 ← click any year for more detail

Justice O'Connor with "Fab Five"
Jun 28
Supreme Court Opinion: Mitchell v. Helms
Dec 12
Supreme Court Opinion: Bush v. Gore
Jun 27
Supreme Court Opinion: Zelman v. Simmons-Harris
Mar 5
Supreme Court Opinion: Lockyer v. Andrade
Jun 23
Supreme Court Opinion: Grutter v. Bollinger
Dec 10
Supreme Court Opinion: McConnell v. Federal Election Comm'n
Jun 28
Supreme Court Opinion: Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
Oct 4
Begins tenure as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary
Jan 31
Steps down as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Begins to serve as a visiting judge at U.S. Circuit Courts around the country, maintaining chambers at the Supreme Court and continuing to hire law clerks
Feb 1
First meeting held to plan the relocation of the historic O'Connor House (Barbara Barrett, Gay Wray, and Justice and John O'Connor meet to discuss the fate of the O'Connor family home, a sun-dried adobe brick house which was slated for demolition by its new owner.)
Oct 1
Friends of O'Connor House organization officially formed

 2009 ← click any year for more detail

Justice O'Connor at O'Connor House
Mar 3
501(c)(3) designation granted to Friends of O'Connor House
Sep 1
O'Connor House receives Certificate of Occupancy, marking the completion of the house's relocation
Nov 11
Husband John Jay O'Connor dies, age 79
Jun 1
Friends of O'Connor House 501(c)(3) changes name to O'Connor House to expand programming beyond historic preservation
Feb 3
Ends tenure as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary
O'Connor Institute creates Sandra Day O'Connor Scholarship Fund to benefit gifted law students at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
May 7
Sister, Ann Day, dies in an automobile accident
Jul 19
O'Connor House placed on National Register of Historic Places. O'Connor Institute establishes O'Connor House Preservation Fund.
Sep 25
Arizona holds its first annual Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Celebration Day (Every year on this date, by law, schools will dedicate a majority of the day to civics education.)