Sandra Day O'Connor

Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
  • Born: March 26, 1930
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Judge









Quote Topics Cited
… extreme, polarizing, moralistic, and unattractive Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Appearances do matter. Voters, Voting & Elections
As a judge, it is not my function to develop public policy. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Copyright rewards originality, not effort. Nationalism & Treason ;Citizenship & Patriotism
Courts and judges are very slow to change. They are reactive organizations. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I am against judicial reforms based on nakedly partisan reasoning. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
I am very concerned that judges be able to render decisions without fear of retribution. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I do not believe it is the function of the judiciary to step in and change the law because the times have changed. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I might disagree with the way the court modifies one of my opinions but I will keep that to myself. I don’t think it is a proper role for a retired supreme court justice to comment on current decisions. What I think doesn’t matter any more. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
I think that he was responsible for putting the flesh and bones on the Constitution. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
I’m not sure that I was well prepared for the Supreme Court when I came here.
If the state has a problem with judicial impartiality, it is largely one the state brought upon itself by continuing the practice of popularly electing judges. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
It is during our most challenging and uncertain moments that our nation's commitment to due process is most severely tested; and it is in those times that we must preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight abroad Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Once women got the right to vote, the kind of relaxed about everything. It was not until after World War II that women discovered that they did not have equal opportunity in the workplace.... The result was almost a revolution. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Our nation needs hard-working, innovative, dedicated people. States. Nations & Nationhood
People tend to say a lot of things that are not true. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
Statutes and constitutions do not protect judicial independence -- people do. Constitution / Bills & Declaratiobns of Rights
The framers of our Constitution thought it was of critical, critical importance, in establishing three branches of government, that we have an independent judiciary. Therefore was that without that, the provisions of the constitution couldn’t be enforced Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
The money is given in these state judges elections by the very people who will appear before these judges. Now that can’t be a good system. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation’s citizens. War & Peace
We must be ever vigilant against those who would strong arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into a dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends be avoiding these beginnings. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
We suspect that 25 years from now the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary. Policy & Policy Making
We will have a female President. Media, Journalism & The Press
What is crucial is that a government practice not have the effect of communicating a message of governmental endorsement or disapproval of religion. Religion & God
What is crucial is that a government practice not have the effect of communicating a message of governmental endorsement or disapproval of religion. Religion & God
What makes this harder is that it is my party that is ruining the country. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
A moment of silence is not inherently religious.
A state of war is not a blank check... when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens. War & Peace
And I went off to Stanford, I was pretty young and pretty naive. And I had a professor I really loved, who was himself a lawyer.
Apparently a great many people have forgotten that the framers of our Constitution went to such great effort to create an independent judicial branch that would not be subject to retaliation by either the executive branch or the legislative branch because of some decision made by those judges.
As a citizen, you need to know how to be a part of it, how to express yourself - and not just by voting.
Commitment to the rule of law provides a basic assurance that people can know what to expect whether what they do is popular or unpopular at the time. Time
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. Women
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. Time
Each of us brings to our job, whatever it is, our lifetime of experience and our values.
For students, understanding the separate and unique functions of each branch of government can help them understand how different kinds of government officials can help solve different kinds of problems. Government
Half the states have stopped making civics and government a requirement for high school. Half. Government
Having family responsibilities and concerns just has to make you a more understanding person. Families, Children & Parenting
Historically courts in this country have been insulated. We do not look beyond our borders for precedents.
I care very much about women and their progress. I didn't go march in the streets, but when I was in the Arizona Legislature, one of the things that I did was to examine every single statute in the state of Arizona to pick out the ones that discriminated against women and get them changed. Women
I don't know how a judge can concentrate on being fair and impartial when he or she is faced with possible jail time for making a decision that others deem incorrect. Time
I don't know that there are any short cuts to doing a good job.
I had become increasingly concerned in recent years about the lack of civics education in our nation's schools. In recent years, the schools have stopped teaching it. And it's unfortunate. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
I loved my husband very much, and it was heartbreaking to have him develop Alzheimer's disease, and to stand by and watch him decline in his ability to take care of himself.
I need to retire from retirement.
I sort of thought the framers of the Constitution were talking about the rights of individuals, not corporate entities.
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.
I think we may be seeing the beginnings of a resurgence of civic-mindedness in this country. Hopefully the younger generations, which came out in record numbers during the last presidential election, will pass their enthusiasm on to their children.
I tried to decide each case based on the law and the Constitution.
I wanted to be a cattle rancher when I was young, because it was what I knew and I loved it.
If I stumbled badly in doing the job, I think it would have made life more difficult for women, and that was a great concern of mine and still is. Life ;Women
If parents instill a sense of civic-mindedness - and there is no better way to do that than by example - their children will probably follow.
If you take a position under the Constitution that is against the majority view, you have to explain it well enough that maybe you can persuade some of that majority to agree with you.
I'm a judge. It seemed to me that it was critical to try to take action to stem the criticism and help people understand that in the constitutional framework, it's terribly important not to have a system of retaliation against decisions people don't like.
In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity. Leaders & Leadership
In terms of having the American people look at the court and think of it as being fair and appropriate for our nation, it helps to have women, plural, on the court. Women
It is a measure of the framers' fear that a passing majority might find it expedient to compromise 4th Amendment values that these values were embodied in the Constitution itself. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It is difficult to discern a serious threat to religious liberty from a room of silent, thoughtful schoolchildren. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
It is true that as you have children, there are a good many months when you don't want to be working full-time. I agree that that's an issue.
It matters enormously to a successful democratic society like ours that we have three branches of government, each with some independence and some control over the other two. That's set out in the Constitution. Society ;Independence
It was better for me when I was joined at the court by a second woman. When I was there alone, there was too much media focus on the one woman, and the minute we got another woman, that changed.
I've always said that at the end of the day, on a legal issue, I think a wise old woman and a wise old man are going to reach the same conclusion. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Justice Ginsburg is a very competent justice, and it is a joy to have her on the court, but particularly for me it is a pleasure to have a second woman on the court.
Most high courts in other nations do not have discretion, such as we enjoy, in selecting the cases that the high court reviews. Our court is virtually alone in the amount of discretion it has.
My concern was whether I could do the job of a justice well enough to convince the nation that my appointment was the right move.
My hope is that 10 years from now, after I've been across the street at work for a while, they'll all be glad they gave me that wonderful vote. Hope ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
My sense is that jurists from other nations around the world understand that our court occupies a very special place in the American system, and that the court is rather well regarded in comparison, perhaps, to their own.
Occasionally we have to interpret an international treaty - one, perhaps, affecting airlines and liability for injury to passengers or damage to goods. Then, of course, we have to look to the precedents of other member nations in resolving issues.
Parents should continue to become more involved with their communities, and more involved in their children's education. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
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. Society ;Respect
Statutes authorizing unreasonable searches were the core concern of the framers of the 4th Amendment. History
The abortion cases produced an enormous amount of mail to my chambers, vastly more than to the other chambers, I am sure. I sometimes thought there wasn't a woman in the United States who didn't write me a letter on one side or the other of that issue.
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.
The destiny of the woman must be shaped to a large extent on her own conception of her spiritual imperative and her place in society. Society
The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community. Religion & God ;Government
The fact is, we are a nine-member court that sits on cases.
The framers of the Constitution were so clear in the federalist papers and elsewhere that they felt an independent judiciary was critical to the success of the nation. Success
The freedom to criticize judges and other public officials is necessary to a vibrant democracy. Freedom & Liberty
The freedom to criticize judges and other public officials is necessary to a vibrant democracy. The problem comes when healthy criticism is replaced with more destructive intimidation and sanctions. Freedom & Liberty
The members of the court were just delighted to have a ninth member - male or female. They were all kind and welcoming.
The more education a woman has, the wider the gap between men's and women's earnings for the same work. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Women ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The No Child Left Behind Program was an incentive to the schools to get their kids up to snuff on math and science and reading. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender. Power
There was no hostility at the court when I arrived.
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. Life
We have a complex system of government. You have to teach it to every generation. Government
We pay a price when we deprive children of the exposure to the values, principles, and education they need to make them good citizens. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Well, it's a little odd, the path I took, because when I was young, I wanted to be a cattle rancher. That was what I knew and that was what I liked.
What was a problem was the excessive amount of media attention to the appointment of the first woman and everything she did. Everywhere that Sandra went, the press was sure to go. And that got tiresome; it was stressful.
When I went to law school, which after all was back in the dark ages, we never looked beyond our borders for precedents. As a state court judge, it never would have occurred to me to do so, and when I got to the Supreme Court, it was very much the same. We just didn't do it.
Yes, I will bring the understanding of a woman to the Court, but I doubt that alone will affect my decisions.
You have citizens who don't understand how government works and they're kind of soured on it. All they do is criticize. They have no idea that they can make things happen. Government
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. Women ;History