Until President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day
O'Connor to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, all 101
previous justices had been men. O'Connor made history as
the first woman. Since she joined the court in 1981,
three other women have also been nominated and confirmed
to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sandra Day O'Connor (Years on Court:
1981–2006) --A Republican from Arizona, O'Connor
had served in both political office and in the state
court system in her native Arizona. After graduating from
Stanford Law School, O'Connor was denied employment as a
lawyer, because no law firm in California would hire her
because she was a woman.
--Nominated by President Ronald Reagan
--Preceded on the court by Potter Stewart
--Succeeded on the court by Samuel Alito
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Years on Court:
1993-Present) --In 1960, despite a strong
recommendation from the dean of Harvard Law School,
Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter passed up on an
opportunity to hire Ginsburg as one of his court clerks,
apparently because she was a woman.
--Nominated by President Bill Clinton
--Preceded on the court by Byron White
Sonia Sotomayor (Years on Court: 2009-Present)
--Born in the Bronx in New York City to Puerto Rican
immigrants, Sotomayor is the first Hispanic on the
Supreme Court. While at Yale Law School., she filed a
formal complaint against the established Washington,
D.C., law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge
for suggesting during a recruiting dinner that she was
only at Yale via affirmative action. The law firm's later
apology was reported in the Washington Post.
--Nominated by President Barack Obama
--Preceded on the court by David Souter
Elena Kagan (Years on Court:
2010-Present) --Elena Kagan was the first woman to
serve as the United States Solicitor General, a position
she held prior to her nomination to the Supreme Court.