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March 1, 2006

Pryce: Sandra Day O’Connor
Blazed Trail for Women

WASHINGTON , D.C . – Congresswoman Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) today inserted the following remarks into the Congressional Record as the House passed a resolution honoring the life and legacy of Sandra Day O’Connor:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the career and character of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  It is fitting that this resolution comes before us during the month of March, the month set aside to celebrate the pioneering women who helped shape our country and extend the promise of equal opportunity for all.

“Sandra Day O’Connor was one of those pioneers, a trailblazer for women in the legal field and the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.  She went to law school at a time when women made up a tiny fraction of law students in this country, and a tiny fraction of practicing attorneys. 

“She graduated from Stanford University Law School in two years instead of the normal three, and third in a class of 102, but struggled to find a job, as few firms were willing to hire a woman.  Undeterred, she accepted a position as a deputy county attorney for San Mateo County in California, her first foray into public service, which would ultimately come to occupy most of her career. 

“Among other roles, she went on to serve as the first female state senate majority leader in the United States and as a justice on the Arizona Court of Appeals.  In 1981, President Ronald Reagan recognized her achievements by appointing O’Connor to the Supreme Court, the first woman in American history to be so honored.

“Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago, when Sandra Day O’Connor graduated from law school, only 4 percent of law students were women.  Today, thanks to Justice O’Connor and other courageous women like her, approximately half of all law students are women.  There are many things I could say in her praise, but it seems to me that that is the most eloquent testimony of her achievements.”