ASU Names College of Law in Honor of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Retired Justice Recognized for Her Lifelong Contributions to Public Service

for Arizona and the Nation

Apr 05, 2006, 01:00 ET from Arizona State University

    TEMPE, Ariz., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona State University is naming
 the College of Law after retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in
 honor of her career-long dedication to public service, her intellectual vigor
 and her sense of fair-mindedness.
     The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU was announced at a press
 conference held today at ASU.  Dignitaries attending the press conference
 included Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Arizona Supreme Court Chief
 Justice Ruth McGregor and ASU President Michael M. Crow.
     "We are establishing a permanent and living tribute to Justice O'Connor,
 one that will honor a native daughter who has provided extraordinary service
 to her state and country," said ASU President Michael M. Crow.  "This will be
 a living tribute, because it will continue over generations of students."
     "Justice O'Connor is a quintessential Arizonan, and we want to celebrate
 that," Crow added.  "We want to associate ourselves and our school with the
 values that Justice O'Connor stands for, including integrity, public service,
 personal independence, the willingness to take risks, wonderful curiosity,
 high intellectual standards, and an abiding commitment to justice and the rule
 of law."
     "Sandra Day O'Connor was Arizona's gift to the national legal community
 and it is altogether fitting that we name one of our premier law schools in
 her honor," said Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano.
     "We are very excited about the opportunity to be the first law school
 named after a contemporary woman," said ASU Law Dean Patricia White.  "One
 cannot overestimate Justice O'Connor's importance as a role model for women
 and how central her success has been to the acceptance of women in legal
 practice and the judiciary."
     "We believe this is the first major law school in the country to be named
 after a living person solely on the basis of merit," White added.
     "We are choosing to honor Justice O'Connor, and in so doing we honor
 ourselves," White said.  "We believe that our association with Justice
 O'Connor will help us gain recognition of the ASU College of Law, its
 accomplishments and what it stands for.  We are confident that now and in the
 future students, faculty and others will want to share in this association."
     Sandra Day O'Connor served as the first female Associate Justice of the
 Supreme Court of the United States (1981 to 2006), and she was cited by Forbes
 magazine (2004) as the fourth most powerful woman in the United States and the
 sixth most powerful in the world.  Due to her case-by-case approach to
 jurisprudence and her relatively moderate political views, O'Connor was the
 crucial swing vote of the Court for many of her final years on the bench.
     Sandra Day was born on March 26, 1930 in El Paso, Texas.  She spent her
 early childhood on the Day family cattle ranch near Duncan, Ariz., but when
 she reached school age, she lived with her grandmother in El Paso.
     Sandra Day attended Stanford University, where she received a B.A. in
 economics in 1950.  She continued at Stanford for her law degree, completing
 the program in two years rather than the customary three, and graduating third
 out of a class of 102.  While in law school, she met John Jay O'Connor III,
 whom she married in 1952 and with whom she has three sons.
     Sandra O'Connor served as an Arizona assistant attorney general from 1965
 to 1969, when she was appointed to a vacancy in the Arizona Senate.  In 1974,
 she successfully ran for trial judge, a position she held until she was
 appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979.
     On July 7, 1981 President Ronald Reagan nominated her to the Supreme
 Court.  In September 1981, on a 99-0 confirmation vote, Sandra Day O'Connor
 became the Supreme Court's 102nd justice and its first female member.
     During her time on the court, Justice O'Connor was regarded as a
 consummate compromiser. Her votes were generally conservative, but she
 frequently surprised observers with her political independence.
     In her later years on the Supreme Court, O'Connor's voting record was
 pivotal.  She joined four liberal judges on many 5-4 decisions including those
 of Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), which affirmed the right of state colleges and
 universities to use affirmative action in their admissions policies to
 increase educational opportunities and promote racial diversity on campus.  In
 Rush Prudential HMO Inc., v. Moran (2002), her vote helped uphold state laws
 giving people the right to a second doctor's opinion if their HMOs tried to
 deny them treatment.
     On July 1, 2005, Associate Justice O'Connor announced her retirement from
 the Supreme Court after 24 years of service on the bench.

SOURCE Arizona State University