A report on Sandra Day O'Connor

Supreme Court justice-nominee Sandra Day O'Connor talks with President Ronald Reagan outside the White House, July 15, 1981.
O'Connor is sworn in by Chief Justice Warren Burger as her husband John O'Connor looks on.
Justice O'Connor presents Alberto Gonzales to the audience after swearing him in as U.S. Attorney General, as Becky Gonzales looks on.
Justice O'Connor and her husband John O'Connor with President George W. Bush in May 2004.
Justice O'Connor's letter to Bush, dated July 1, 2005, announcing her retirement
O'Connor in 2008 with Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan. Kagan became the fourth female justice on the Court.
The first four women Supreme Court justices: O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan, October 1, 2010. O'Connor was retired when the photograph was taken.

Retired American attorney and politician who served as the first female associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006.

- Sandra Day O'Connor

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William Rehnquist

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American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States for 33 years, first as an associate justice from 1972 to 1986 and then as the 16th chief justice from 1986 until his death in 2005.

American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States for 33 years, first as an associate justice from 1972 to 1986 and then as the 16th chief justice from 1986 until his death in 2005.

Rehnquist portrait as an Associate Justice in 1972
William Rehnquist (left) takes the oath as Chief Justice from retiring Warren Burger at the White House in 1986, as his wife, Natalie, holds a Bible, President Ronald Reagan and Justice Antonin Scalia look on
Robes worn by Rehnquist while he presided over the impeachment trial of President Clinton, showing the four yellow stripes he added.
Rehnquist at the National Archives Rotunda in 2003
An ailing Chief Justice Rehnquist administers the presidential oath of office to President George W. Bush at his inauguration in 2005, as First Lady Laura Bush looks on. Note: Rehnquist's addition of the gold stripes on his robes
Rehnquist's grave, which is next to his wife, Nan, at Arlington National Cemetery

Rehnquist was in the same class at Stanford Law as Sandra Day O'Connor, with whom he would later serve on the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist was the senior justice of the four that dissented against the upholding of Roe.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey

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Landmark case of the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Court upheld the right to have an abortion as established by the "essential holding" of Roe v. Wade (1973) and issued as its "key judgment" the imposition of the undue burden standard when evaluating state-imposed restrictions on that right.

Landmark case of the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Court upheld the right to have an abortion as established by the "essential holding" of Roe v. Wade (1973) and issued as its "key judgment" the imposition of the undue burden standard when evaluating state-imposed restrictions on that right.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist was the senior justice of the four that dissented against the upholding of Roe.
Justice Harry Blackmun, the original author of Roe, would have struck down all of the Pennsylvania abortion restrictions, continuing to apply strict scrutiny.

In a plurality opinion jointly written by associate justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter, the Supreme Court upheld the "essential holding" of Roe, which was that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution protected a woman's right to have an abortion prior to fetal viability.

Anthony Kennedy

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American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1988 until his retirement in 2018.

American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1988 until his retirement in 2018.

President Reagan and Kennedy meeting in the Oval Office on November 11, 1987

After the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor in 2006, he was the swing vote on many of the Roberts Court's 5–4 decisions.

Official portrait, 2013

Antonin Scalia

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American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016.

American jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 until his death in 2016.

Official portrait, 2013
President Reagan and his Supreme Court nominee Scalia in the Oval Office, July 7, 1986
Judge and Mrs. Scalia (left) and President Reagan (right) watch as Chief Justice Warren Burger swears William Rehnquist in as the next Chief Justice, September 26, 1986.
The 2009–2010 Court, with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and retiring justice David Souter with Scalia fourth from right
Scalia (right) at Harvard Law School on November 30, 2006
Scalia in 2010
Scalia (right) works on a book with Bryan A. Garner.
The Roberts Court (October 2010 – February 2016). Front row: Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts (Chief), Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Back row: Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan.
President Trump presents Scalia's Medal of Freedom posthumously to his widow, Maureen.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor cast the deciding vote, allowing the abortion regulations at issue in the case to stand but not overruling Roe.

Rose Fosco, who before 1968 posed as a woman seeking an abortion during sting operations for the Chicago Police Department. As an undercover officer she worked to break up illegal abortion rings.

Roe v. Wade

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Landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States granted the right to have an abortion.

Landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States granted the right to have an abortion.

Rose Fosco, who before 1968 posed as a woman seeking an abortion during sting operations for the Chicago Police Department. As an undercover officer she worked to break up illegal abortion rings.
The judicial replacements
George Frampton, law clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun during the 1971–72 term
Justice Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe majority opinion
2021 Women's March, many speakers bemoaned a looming threat to Roe.
March for Life, 2020
Judge Edith Jones
Oral hearing for the abortion decision, November 18, 1974
Burger Court in 1976
1991–1993 Rehnquist Court
The Rehnquist Court in 1998; the members pictured are the ones who decided Stenberg v. Carhart. Justice Ginsburg replaced Justice White.
Judge David Lawson
The Roberts Court in 2010; eight of the nine members pictured are the ones who decided Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. Justice Scalia (front row, second left) died before the oral argument.

In addition to Justices White and Rehnquist, Reagan-appointee Justice Sandra Day O'Connor began dissenting from the Court's abortion cases, arguing in 1983 that the trimester-based analysis devised by the Roe Court was "unworkable."

Official portrait, 2016

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020.

American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020.

Official portrait, 2016
Ginsburg in 1959, wearing her Columbia Law School academic regalia
Ginsburg in 1977, photographed by Lynn Gilbert
Ginsburg with President Jimmy Carter in 1980
Ginsburg officially accepting the nomination from President Bill Clinton on June 14, 1993
Ginsburg giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearings on her nomination to be an associate justice
Chief Justice William Rehnquist swearing in Ginsburg as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, as her husband Martin Ginsburg and President Clinton watch
Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan, October 1, 2010. O'Connor is not wearing a robe because she was retired from the court when the picture was taken.
Commissioned portrait of Ginsburg in 2000
Portrait of Ginsburg, c. 2006
Ginsburg speaking at a naturalization ceremony at the National Archives in 2018
Martin and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at a White House event, 2009
Ginsburg was honored in a ceremony in Statuary Hall, and she became the first woman to lie in state at the Capitol, September 25, 2020.
Ginsburg receiving the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award from Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson at the Library of Congress in January 2020
A poster depicting Ginsburg as "the Notorious R.B.G." in the likeness of American rapper The Notorious B.I.G., 2018
Chief Justice William Rehnquist swearing in Ginsburg as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, as her husband Martin Ginsburg and President Clinton watch

Ginsburg was the first Jewish woman and the second woman to serve on the Court, after Sandra Day O'Connor.

Chief Justice John Roberts

Roberts Court

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Time since 2005 during which the Supreme Court of the United States has been led by John Roberts as Chief Justice.

Time since 2005 during which the Supreme Court of the United States has been led by John Roberts as Chief Justice.

Chief Justice John Roberts
The Roberts Court (since October 2020): Front row (left to right): Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Back row (left to right): Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett

This is due to the retirement of moderate Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy, the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the subsequent confirmation of the conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett in their places, respectively.

Official portrait, 2007

Clarence Thomas

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American jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

American jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Official portrait, 2007
Thomas with President Ronald Reagan in 1986, while serving as chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Clarence Thomas being sworn in as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court by Justice Byron White during an October 23, 1991, White House ceremony, as wife Virginia Thomas looks on
Thomas speaking to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in 2017

Crawford wrote in her book on the Supreme Court that Thomas's forceful views moved "moderates like Sandra Day O'Connor further to the left" but frequently attracted votes from Rehnquist and Scalia.

Official portrait, 1981

Ronald Reagan

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American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

Official portrait, 1981
Ronald Reagan's boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois
The Bad Man (1941)
Capt. Ronald Reagan at Fort Roach, 1943 or 1944.
Guest stars for the premiere of The Dick Powell Show, 1961. Reagan can be seen wearing a ten-gallon hat on the far left.
Reagan testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee, October 1947
Reagan and his first wife Jane Wyman, 1942
Wedding of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, 1952. Matron of honor Brenda Marshall (left) and best man William Holden (right) were the sole guests.
Nancy and Ronald Reagan aboard a boat in California, 1964
The Reagans meet with President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon, July 1970
Reagan and President Ford shake hands on the podium after Reagan narrowly lost the nomination at the 1976 Republican National Convention
1980 electoral vote results
Ronald Reagan, moderator Jon Breen, and Bush participate in the Nashua, New Hampshire presidential debate, 1980
President and Mrs. Reagan at the 1981 inauguration parade
Supreme Court justice-nominee Sandra Day O'Connor talks with Reagan outside the White House, July 15, 1981.
Reagan outlines his plan for Tax Reduction Legislation in a televised address from the Oval Office, July 1981
Reagan addresses Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery, April 28, 1981 (a few weeks after surviving the assassination attempt)
As the first U.S. president invited to speak before the British Parliament (June 8, 1982), Reagan predicted Marxism–Leninism would end up on the "ash heap of history".
Meeting with leaders of the Afghan Mujahideen in the Oval Office, 1983
Reagan with actress Sigourney Weaver and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in 1985. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia supplied money and arms to the anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan.
Reagan (far left) and First Lady Nancy Reagan pay their respects to the 17 American victims of the April 18 attack on the U.S. embassy by Hezbollah in Beirut, 1983
1984 presidential electoral votes by state. Reagan (red) won every state except Mondale's home state of Minnesota; Mondale also carried the District of Columbia.
Reagan is sworn in for a second term as president by Chief Justice Burger in the Capitol rotunda
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (here with Reagan in 1986) granted the U.S. use of British airbases to launch the Libya attack.
Reagan (center) receives the Tower Commission Report regarding the Iran-Contra affair in the Cabinet Room with John Tower (left) and Edmund Muskie (right)
Challenging Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" at the Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987
Gorbachev and Reagan sign the INF Treaty at the White House, December 1987
The Reagans in Los Angeles, 1992
The Reagans with a model of USS Ronald Reagan, May 1996
Reagan lying in state in the Capitol rotunda
A bronze statue of Reagan standing in the National Statuary Hall Collection
President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev, 1985
Reagan in 1982
Approval ratings for President Reagan (Gallup)
Former President Reagan returns to the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush, 1993
{{circa}} 1916–17. Pictured from left: Father Jack, older brother Neil, Reagan (with "Dutchboy" haircut), and mother Nelle
1920s. As a teenager, in Dixon, Illinois
{{circa|lk=no|1960}}. Hosting General Electric Theater
1976. At his home at Rancho del Cielo
1985. His second presidential portrait

On July 7, 1981, Reagan announced that he planned to nominate Sandra Day O'Connor as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, replacing the retiring Justice Potter Stewart.

Official portrait, 2007

Samuel Alito

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American lawyer and jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

American lawyer and jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Official portrait, 2007
With President George W. Bush looking on, Alito acknowledges his nomination.
Alito ceremonially sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts the day after his confirmation, February 1, 2006.
Alito swearing in Mark Esper as the United States Secretary of Defense in 2019.

On July 1, 2005, Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court effective upon the confirmation of a successor.