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Sandra Day O'Connor Quotes

Sandra Day O'Connor (March 26, 1930 - )


Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court when President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the position of Associate Justice in 1981. A lawyer, she served two terms as a state senator in Arizona, and was the first woman in the United States to be elected the majority leader of a state senate body. Sandra Day O'Connor was then elected as a judge, also in Arizona. She tended to be a swing vote on the court. She has been described as both a moderate conservative and moderate feminist.

Selected Sandra Day O'Connor Quotations

• 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.

• I don't know that there are any shortcuts to doing a good job.

• We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads form one to another that creates something.

• Slaying the dragon of delay is no sport for the short-winded.

• Young women today often have very little appreciation for the real battles that took place to get women where they are today in this country. I don't know how much history young women today know about those battles. (2003)

• Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability.

• Yes, I will bring the understanding of a woman to the Court, but I doubt that alone will affect my decisions. I think the important thing about my appointment is not that I will decide cases as a woman, but that I am a woman who will get to decide cases.

• The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender.

• The more education a woman has, the wider the gap between men's and women's earnings for the same work.

• Despite the encouraging and wonderful gains and the changes for women which have occurred in my lifetime, there is still room to advance and to promote correction of the remaining deficiencies and imbalances.

• Each of us brings to our job, whatever it is, our lifetime of experience and our values.

• The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come.

• We pay a price when we deprive children of the exposure to the values, principles, and education they need to make them good citizens.

• The courts of this country should not be the places where resolution of disputes begins. They should be the places where the disputes end after alternative methods of resolving disputes have been considered and tried.

(PLANNED PARENTHOOD v. CASEY, June 29, 1992: Opinion written by Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter; joined in part by Stevens and Blackmun) Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt. Yet, 19 years after our holding that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy in its early stages, Roe v. Wade (1973), that definition of liberty is still questioned.

We are led to conclude this: the essential holding of Roe v. Wade should be retained and once again reaffirmed, in three parts:
1. The right of the woman to choose to have an abortion before viability.
2. The State may restrict abortions after fetal viability if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman’s health.
3. The State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child.

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