NAPABA Mourns the Passing of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

For Immediate Release: 
Date: December 1, 2023 
ContactRahat N. Babar, Deputy Executive Director for Policy 

WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) mourns the passing of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a trailblazer in our Nation and the first woman on the Supreme Court of the United States.

“For a generation, Justice O’Connor blazed the trail for those who thought that the highest pinnacle of the legal profession was unattainable,” said Anna Mercado Clark, President of NAPABA. “She proved that not only was it possible, but inevitable. During her tenure on the Court, she addressed the Nation’s most difficult issues and strived for consensus—a hallmark of her career both before and during her time on the Court. Even during her retirement, Justice O’Connor devoted her time to service and championed the cause of civic education—a cause that goes to the core of our democracy. On behalf of the entire NAPABA community, we send our heartfelt condolences to her family.”

Despite graduating near the top of her class at Stanford Law School, Justice O’Connor struggled to find a role within the profession and was initially offered a secretarial position. Steadily through the course of her life, she demonstrated the tenacity that led to her success. She started her legal career in public service in California and later in Arizona. She served in the Arizona Senate, becoming the first woman to ever serve as Majority Leader. Justice O’Connor then served on the Maricopa County Superior Court in 1974, ultimately being elevated to the Arizona Court of Appeals in 1979. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice O’Connor for the Supreme Court, and the United States Senate confirmed her nomination with a vote of 99-0. She retired from the Court in 2006.