Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court, a milestone for women’s rights.
O’Connor’s rise to the top of the American judiciary came in 1981, by which time O’Connor had already served as an assistant attorney general, a state senator and an appeals judge for Arizona. Not a bad résumé. And all the more impressive considering the only job she was offered following graduation from Stanford Law School was as a legal secretary.
On September 21, 1981, O’Connor was confirmed by the U.S. Senate with a vote of 99–0. In her first year on the Court she received over 60,000 letters from the public, more than any other justice in history.
In response to a carelessly-written editorial in The New York Times which mentioned the “nine old men” of the Court, the self-styled FWOTSC (First WOman On The Supreme Court) sent a pithy letter to the editor:
|“||I noticed the following ….:
According to the information available to me, and which I had assumed was generally available, for over two years now SCOTUS has not consisted of nine men. If you have any contradictory information, I would be grateful if you would forward it as I am sure the POTUS, the SCOTUS and the undersigned (the FWOTSC) would be most interested in seeing it.
|—Sandra D. O’Connor, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, October 12, 1983, “High Court’s ‘9 Men’ Were a Surprise to One”, The New York Times, October 5, 1983 re: (First Woman On The Supreme Court); William Safire, “On Language; Potus and Flotus”, The New York Times Magazine, October 12, 1997. Retrieved December 7, 2007|