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Sandra Day O'Connor

Justice in the Balance
By Ann McFeatters

Details

Overview

On July 1, 1981, President Ronald Reagan interviewed Sandra Day O'Connor as a candidate for the United States Supreme Court. A few days later, he called her. "Sandra, I'd like to announce your nomination to the Court tomorrow. Is that all right with you?" Scared and wondering if this was a mistake, the little-known judge from Arizona was on her way to becoming the first woman justice and one of the most powerful women in the nation.

Born in El Paso, Texas, O'Connor grew up on the Lazy B, a cattle ranch that spanned the Arizona-New Mexico border. There she learned lifelong lessons about self-reliance, hard work, and the joy of the outdoors.

Ann Carey McFeatters sketches O'Connor's formative years there and at Stanford University and her inability to find a job--law firms had no interest in hiring a woman lawyer. McFeatters writes about how O'Connor juggled marriage, a career in law and politics, three sons, breast cancer, and the demands of fame.

In this second volume in the Women's Biography Series, we learn how O'Connor became the Court's most important vote on such issues as abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, the role of religion in society, and the election of a president, decisions that shaped a generation of Americans.

Contributor Bios
Ann Carey McFeatters is Washington Bureau Chief for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Toledo Blade and writes a weekly column about the White House for Scripps Howard News Service.
Melanie Gustafson teaches history at the University of Vermont.
Kristie Miller, an author and journalist, is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for the La Salle, Illinois, NewsTribune. Her previous books include Isabella Greenway: An Enterprising Woman and Ruth Hanna McCormick: A Life in Politics. She lives in McLean, Virginia.