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February 7, 2014

Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor discusses difficulties finding a job after college

NORMAN — University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren, Dean of the OU College of Law Joseph Harroz and Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry put the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor in the hot seat and questioned her about her experience on the U.S. Supreme Court and legal career during the OU’s President’s Associates dinner Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, O’Connor met with OU College of Law students and delivered a lecture.

“It is a real privilege to have you (O’Connor) here,” Boren said. “She is a person whose public service is a treasure to us all.”

Sandra Day O’Connor served as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from 1981 to 2006. She became the first woman named to the country’s highest court, after being appointed by President Ronald Reagan. During her tenure, O’Connor was known as an unwavering proponent of state autonomy.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a law degree from Stanford University. In law school, she served on the Stanford Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif, a legal honor society.

After graduation, she accepted a job as the deputy county attorney for San Mateo, Calif. When her husband, also a lawyer, was drafted into the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps and sent to Frankfurt, Germany, O’Connor served as a civilian lawyer in the Quartermaster’s Corps.

In 1957, O’Connor started a law firm with one partner, handling a wide variety of small cases. She later served as an Arizona assistant state attorney general. When a state senator resigned to take an appointment in Washington D.C., she was appointed to the vacant seat and was elected for two more terms.

After serving as the first woman majority leader in the United States, from 1972 to 1974, she became a trial judge in Phoenix. In 1979, the newly elected Democratic governor nominated O’Connor to the Arizona Court of Appeals. Less than two years later, she was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

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