Timeline: Sandra Day O'Connor's Key Decisions

Friday, July 1, 2005; 10:29 AM

The following are key decisions and events in the career of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

March 29, 2005: Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education

Decision allows a male teacher to bring a Title IX claim if he complains about sex discrimination.

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  • April 28, 2004: Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

    This decision rejected the Bush administration's position on enemy combatants and rules that a citizen held in the United States must be given an opportunity to challenge the factual basis of the detention before a neutral decison maker.

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  • Post: U.S. Allows Lawyer for Citizen Held as 'Enemy Combatant'
  • Dec. 10, 2003: McConnell v. FEC

    The ruling, which O'Connor co-authored with Justice John Paul Stevens, declares the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law constitutional. 

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  •  Post: Justices Uphold Campaign Finance Law
  • June 23, 2003: Grutter v. Bollinger, Gratz v. Bollinger

  • Findlaw Case Documents (Grutter v. Bollinger)
  • Findlaw Case Documents (Gratz v. Bollinger) 
  •  Post Article: Affirmative Action for Diversity Is Upheld
  • Post Article: O'Connor Questions Foes of U-Michigan Policy
  • April 8, 2003

    O'Connor publishes her second book, The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice.

  • Post Article: Bench Marks
  • Post Article: A Cowgirl's Sense of the Constitution and the Court
  • March 5, 2003: Ewing v. California and Lockyer v. Andrade

    O'Connor affirms California's "3-Strikes" law that long prison terms for repeat offenders are legal

  • FindLaw Case Documents
  • Post Article: California '3-Strikes' Law Upheld
  • Jan. 22, 2002

  • Post Profile: The O'Connor Factor
  • July 3, 2001

  • Post Article: O'Connor Expresses Death Penalty Doubt
  • Dec. 12, 2000: Bush v. Gore

     O'Connor votes with the 5 to 4 majority that effectively makes George W. Bush the 43rd president of the United States.

  • Findlaw Case Documents 
  • Post Article: Opinion Is Sharply Divided on Ruling's Consequences
  • Post Article: Court May Have Mapped New Territory
  • June 28, 2000: Stenberg, Attorney General of Nebraska v. Carhart

  • Stenberg, Attorney General of Nebraska v. Carhart Findlaw Case Documents
  • Hill v. Colorado  Findlaw Case Documents  
  • Post Article: Supreme Court Upholds Two Key Abortion Rights
  • May 16, 1999

    O'Connor calls on judges nationwide to ensure fairness for all.

  • Post Article: Justice O'Connor Calls for 'Concrete Action' to Fight Bias
  • June 24, 1997: Agostini v. Felton

    O'Connor delivers the decision allowing public school teachers to enter parochial schools to provide remedial education. 

  • Findlaw Case Documents 
  • Post Excerpts From Ruling: 'We Have Departed From the Rule'
  • June 29, 1992: Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA v. Casey

     Justices O'Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and David Hackett Souter reaffirm what they called the "central holding" of the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  •  Post Article: 5-4 Court Declines to Overrule Roe
  • June 26, 1990

    O'Connor votes to strike down a portion of an antiabortion law that would have required a minor, virtually without exception, to notify both parents before obtaining an abortion.

  • Post Article: O'Connor Breaks Ranks With Reagan Appointees
  • June 11, 1990: United States v. Eichman

     O'Connor dissents when the court rules that flag-burning is protected by the First Amendment. 

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  • June 21, 1989: Texas v. Johnson

    O'Connor dissents as the court protects a citizen's right to make a political statement by burning s privately owned U.S. flag. 

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  • April 29, 1989

  • Post Article: Justice O'Connor's Question
  • Oct. 22, 1988

  •  Post Article: Justice O'Connor Has Breast Cancer Surgery
  • April 22, 1987: McCleskey v. Kemp

    O'Connor joins with the court in upholding capital punishment law.

  • Findlaw Case Documents
  • Post Article: Capital Punishment Law Upheld
  • June 4, 1985: Wallace v. Jaffree

    O'Connor concurs in the court's judgment that moments of silence in public schools are in and of themselves constitutional, but may not "characterize prayer as a favored practice."

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  • July 1, 1982: Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan

    O'Connor rules in favor of a male applicant seeking admission to the Mississippi University for Women nursing school. 

  •  Findlaw Case Documents
  • Sept. 25, 1981

    O'Connor takes the oath of office.

    Sept. 22, 1981

    O'Connor is confirmed by the Senate.

    July 7, 1981

    O'Connor is nominated by President Reagan as the first woman associated justice of the Supreme Court.

    June 28, 2000

    The Supreme Court upholds two key abortion rights, with O'Connor voting with the majority.

  • Stenberg, Attorney General of Nebraska v. Carhart Findlaw Case Documents
  • Hill v. Colorado Findlaw Case Documents
  • Post Article: Supreme Court Upholds Two Key Abortion Rights

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