Friday, July 01, 2005

Godspeed, Justice O'Connor

One of my few claims to fame is that I met Sandra J. O'Connor several years before she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's the story: she is the neice of close family friends and I met her at a wedding when I was still in law school.

I'd heard about her before from these friends. When I announced my intention to go to law school they told me about her. How she was second in her class at the Stanford Law School but no law firm would hire her because she was a woman. How she married and moved to Arizona, where she put her legal career aside for a few years while raising her family and was a very active community volunteer. When her boys were older she became a state court judge. "You see," I was told," you, too, can go to law school, take time off for family and community and then return to the law and be a judge."

It was from that position she was nominated to the Supreme Court after intense lobbying by her old law school pal, Justice Rhenquist. Was he trying to right the wrongs of past years when he did that? It is very rare for a state court judge to become a Supreme Court Justice --usually some experience on a federal bench is required.

For many years her example inspired and encouraged me as I took time off to be with Portia and Babs. This was before the days when law firms or corporations created "mommy tracks" for women as many do now. But when the time came for me to consider returning to the law, I found my call was to the church instead.

Thank you, Justice O'Connor. Your example encouraged me to follow my own path. Godspeed in your retirement.

1 comment:

will spotts said...

While I have not agreed with all of her decisions, I agree that her experience has provided a positive example.

And I note with some satisfaction that she rather strongly dissented from the recent eminent domain ruling.