In Depth


Trailblazer, Icon & Legend: Arizona Lawmakers on Sandra Day O'Connor

President Ronald Reagan meets with Sandra Day O'Connor after nominating her to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Posted at 6:40 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 14:50:59-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — On July 7, 1981, history was made. President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the United States Supreme Court -- the first woman to serve as a justice on the country's highest court.

Life change dramatically, not just for the Justice herself, but for all women. An Arizona Appellate Court Judge was about to be catapulted to a position the world came to recognize.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the historic nomination. Here's what Arizona leaders today have to say about Justice O'Connor, her tenure on the court and her enduring legacy:

Gov. Doug Ducey:

Sandra Day O'Connor is an Arizona icon and an American treasure, the first female to sit on the United States Supreme Court Appointed by Ronald Reagan, but even more than that it's her life and upbringing in the southwest, it's the civility, that she brought to public life and, and the arena in which she participated, and it's the legacy that that she will leave us all, is we will be proud of her as a, as a icon in the pantheon of greats in Arizona, and someone that we've all been graced by her humility and civility, along the way."

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero

"Unbelievable woman. Just strong, independent and determined. Such a wonderful example of the Arizona cowboy attitude that we have-- this independent attitude that Arizona's and Sonoran desert dwellers carry forward. I grew up hearing of Sandra Day O'Connor and so she was such a trailblazer opening doors for so many other women in politics and in law and in service to our country and our state."

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly:

"I remember 40 years ago I was in high school. I think I was a junior or senior in high school when President Reagan nominated her to the Supreme Court. I remember that being a very big deal that day a very good move in the right direction for our country and I want to see more of that. I just had a granddaughter, a month ago tomorrow. She'll be 4 weeks old tomorrow. Just to see more opportunities for women to be able to go into any field at any time is so important to the future of our country."