Currently, O’Connor serves on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
To kick off the discussion about O’Connor’s career, Boren asked her about her experience on the U.S. Supreme Court, and O’Connor reminisced about working with past colleagues.
O’Connor served under three different chief justices during her time on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“How important is the role of chief justice? What is the chief justice’s most important talent?” Boren said.
In reply, O’Connor said, “They have to try and pick people who will write persuasively and put together a majority of the court. You want a case with a clear majority.”
Next O’Connor discussed the difficulties she initially faced in her career. After graduating law school, she could not find a job in the private sector.
“It became a problem to find someone seriously to talk to someone about a job,” she said. “The only place I found would talk to me seriously was the county attorney’s office in California. It definitely woke me up to the problems women face.”
Henry described O’Connor as resilient and asked her if her upbringing influenced her attitude toward life.
“You faced cancer. You never missed a day of work. You performed in the highest court of the land,” Henry said.
“If you grow up working as a ranch hand, you kind of learn what it takes to get by,” she said.
When asked about Thurgood Marshall, O’Connor said he had a tough role to play.
“It was really shocking what he had to go through to get into law school,” she said. “He took on lots of pro bono type work and went all across the United States to deal with cases about voting and the rights of people. He was quite an amazing man. It was a privilege to serve on the court with him.”