I remember being in Junior High School when President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to be the first female US Supreme Court justice back in 1981.
At that time it was very, very long overdue to have a woman sit on our country’s highest court.
I have always admired Justice O’Connor. Not just because she was a trailblazer by being the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court – but also because Justice O’Connor was a fierce defender of the rule of law.
In my view, Justice O’Connor was also highly ethical, balanced and level-headed as a Supreme Court Justice. These are important traits that we don’t always see from members of our judiciary in the United States nowadays.
One of my favorite stories about Justice O’Connor involved her interaction with Pro Football Hall of Fame running back John Riggins at a Washington DC event back in the mid-1980s which captured plenty of media attention. Mr. Riggins provides some perspective about what happened via his X account.
Fast forward 40+ years later and we still need more women to be in more senior leadership positions across the legal profession as judges, attorney generals, district attorneys, public defenders, law firm partners and general counsels.
Here’s my favorite quote from Justice O’Connor: “Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.”
Rest in peace Justice O’Connor.