Profile of Sandra Day O'Connor
She officially became the first woman to serve
Hi, I'm Ben Arrona, here for About.com. I'm a historian with a Master's degree in American History, and today we're going to take a look at the first woman to ever serve on the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor.Born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930, Sandra Day O'Connor grew up as a child during the Great Depression; she lived and worked on her family's ranch in Arizona. Eventually, young Sandra was sent to live with her grandmother in Texas and attended private school. O'Connor attended college at Stanford University, where she studied law and would meet future Supreme Court justice William Rehnquist.Despite graduating Magna Cum Laude, she still found it difficult to get her law career on track. Because of her gender, no law firms were interested in her services as a lawyer. In fact, at least one law firm did offer her a position -- as a secretary. Eventually, by the mid 1950's, she served as a civil attorney for the army. After returning to Arizona in 1957, Sandra Day O'Connor started her own law practice and began a family with her husband, John. By 1965, she became the Assistant Attorney General for the State, a position which she would hold until 1969. That year, she became an Arizona State Senator, eventually becoming the first woman to hold the position of majority leader of a state senate.From 1974 to 1981, she would serve on the bench of various courts, ultimately receiving the nomination from President Ronald Reagan to fill an open seat on the Supreme Court. She was confirmed unanimously, and on September 25, 1981, she officially became the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. She would serve as a crucial swing vote on the court, and would be part of several key decisions upholding women's rights. She officially retired in 2006.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.