Born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930, Sandra Day O’Connor was elected to two terms in the Arizona state senate. In 1981, Ronald Reagan nominated her as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and she received unanimous Senate approval. O’Connor made history as the first woman justice to serve on the Supreme Court. As a justice, O’Connor was as a key swing vote in many important cases, including the upholding of Roe v. Wade. She retired in 2006, after serving for 24 years.
After retirement, O’Connor launched iCivics, an online civics education venture aimed at middle school students. As she explained to Parade magazine, “We have a complex system of government. You have to teach it to every generation.” She has also authored several books in addition to her efforts to advance young people’s understanding of government. She penned the 2008 children’s book Finding Susie and the 2013 judicial memoir The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice.