Sandra Day O'Connor Writes Book on being First Female Supreme Court Judge
Sandra Day O'Connor shares her experience of being the first female Supreme Court judge in her new novel "Out of Order", which will be available for purchase March 5, 2013.
Sandra Day O'Connor says it's not every day that the President calls one up to announce her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. O'Connor, who became the first female Supreme Court judge after replacing Justice Potter Stewart in 1981, said she was shocked when she was told President Reagan was calling for her and informed her that she needs to announce her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court the following day. She was sworn in by the President July 1, 1981.
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When the Court is politically divided, O'Connor has the responsibility to cast what is known as the "swing vote" that makes the final decision. However, she reveals that she doesn't really associate with the term and has never approved of it.
"I don't think any justice - and I hope I was not one - would swing back and forth and just try to make decisions not based on legal principles but on where you thought the direction should go, and so I never liked that term," says the judge, who served for 24 years before retiring in 2006.
O'Connor retired as she needed to take care of her husband who suffered from Alzheimer's. The retired judge reveals that the couple had a very happy marriage and it broke her heart to witness him develop Alzheimer's and see him decline and lose the ability to take care of himself. She said that it was only right that they move back to Arizona where they spend most of their lives, and where two of their sons live.
O'Connor said her appointment to the Supreme Court gave her an important and special responsibility. According to her, she needed to do an extra-good job so that no one could say a woman can't do it. She says she felt she had to make sure that she committed no errors that would pose as a reason not to elect a woman for the position in future.