Sandra Day O'Connor

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Sandra Day O'Connor, 1982.
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Sandra Day O'Connor (1930–2023)[1] was the first female Supreme Court Justice. She was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and is considered by many conservatives to be a lapse of judgment on his part (Ann Coulter once called her "Reagan's biggest mistake"[2]). Despite their fears, she was moderate on everything, often providing the swing vote on an otherwise split court.

Prior to her post on the Supreme Court, she served as a judge in Arizona. She eventually retired to care for her husband, who suffered from Alzheimer's, making her one of the few Justices who retired of their own will. A more recent example is Anthony Kennedy.

She was apparently not of sound body and mind during the 2000 election because twelve years later, she admitted she regrets Bush v. Gore.[3]

Why She Was Nominated[edit]

During the 1980 Presidential Campaign, Reagan promised to nominate a woman to the Supreme Court.[4] Stu Spencer, Reagan's chief campaign strategist, has admitted that he only convinced Reagan to do so due to his lack of popularity with female voters--although he also admits that Reagan never had an issue with nominating a qualified woman to the Supreme Court.[5]

This is not to say O'Connor had no other qualifications, but it's hard to see what else Reagan saw in her other than the fact that she's a woman. Reagan even wrote in his diaries that night that "Already the flack is starting & from my own supporters."[6]:40Jerry Falwell said on the nomination that "every good Christian should be concerned" to which Barry Goldwater quipped "every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass."[7] George Will, also a famous supporter of the President (even helping prep Reagan for the 1980 debate[8]), famously wrote on her:

Reagan dug about as deep as any President ever has into the state judiciary for a nominee. But, then, his sexual criterion excluded about 95% of the law school graduates of relevant age group.[9]:91

See also[edit]