The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor
Associate Justice (ret.)
United States Supreme Court
Justice O'Connor served a distinguished 24-year term on the nation’s highest court. Her career has been shaped by extensive experience in the legal profession. She has served as a partner in her own law firm, as well as a lawyer for local, state and federal governments. She has been a state trial and appellate court judge, a state legislator and a committed civic and political volunteer and leader.
Justice O’Connor served on the Arizona Court of Appeals and as a superior court judge in Maricopa County, AZ, before her nomination to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. She served as a state senator in the Arizona legislature from 1969 to 1975 and was the first woman to serve as majority leader of a state Senate. She also served as assistant attorney general of Arizona and in private law practice in Phoenix. Justice O’Connor’s career began in 1952 as deputy county attorney in San Mateo County, CA. She earned an undergraduate degree and law degree from Stanford University.
In retirement, Justice O’Connor has led a national discussion on the future of the judiciary. She maintains law chambers at the Supreme Court, where retired justices are provided space to write and study, and to serve at times with the lower federal courts.
Justice O’Connor dedicated Elon University School of Law on September 19, 2006. She returned to Elon Law in March of 2010, delivering remarks before the student body, faculty and staff of the law school on leadership and issues facing the judicial branch in federal and state government. She delivered the Convocation Address at Elon University in 2006.