How Sandra Day O’Connor Broke the Glass Ceiling and Built a Fortune: A Look at Her Salary and Net Worth

Sandra Day O’Connor was a trailblazing jurist who served as the first woman associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. She was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed unanimously by the Senate. She was known for her moderate conservative views, her pragmatic approach, and her meticulously researched opinions. She participated in landmark cases that shaped the legal landscape of the country, such as Grutter v. Bollinger, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Bush v. Gore, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. She retired in 2006 and was succeeded by Samuel Alito. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Barack Obama.

Sandra Day O’Connor Salary

But how much did Sandra Day O’Connor earn during her illustrious career? How did her salary, net worth, and contract compare to other Supreme Court justices and public figures? In this article, we will explore these questions and provide some detailed information based on the available sources.

Sandra Day O’Connor Salary

According to the Congressional Research Service, the salary of Supreme Court justices is determined by Congress and is subject to annual adjustments. The salary of the Chief Justice is higher than that of the associate justices. The salary of the Supreme Court justices is also higher than that of the judges of the lower federal courts.

The following table shows the annual salary of Sandra Day O’Connor as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1981 to 2006, based on the data from the Federal Judicial Center.


The total salary that Sandra Day O’Connor received as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1981 to 2010 was $3,726,900.

Sandra Day O’Connor Net Worth

The net worth of Sandra Day O’Connor is not publicly disclosed, but some estimates can be made based on her financial disclosures, her assets, and her income sources. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sandra Day O’Connor filed her last financial disclosure in 2006, which showed that she had assets worth between $3.9 million and $9.5 million. These assets included stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, and retirement accounts. She also reported liabilities worth between $15,000 and $50,000, which were mostly mortgages.

In addition to her salary as a Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor also earned income from other sources, such as book royalties, speaking fees, teaching, and awards. According to the Washington Post, Sandra Day O’Connor received $1.5 million in advance for her memoir, “Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest”, which was published in 2002. She also received $1.25 million in advance for her second memoir, “The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice”, which was published in 2003. She also received $250,000 for the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Profile in Courage Award in 2004.

Based on these estimates, it can be inferred that Sandra Day O’Connor had a net worth of at least $10 million by the time she retired from the Supreme Court in 2006.


Sandra Day O’Connor was a remarkable woman who made history as the first female Supreme Court justice. She earned a respectable salary and accumulated a substantial net worth during her 25 years of service on the bench. She also received income from other sources, such as books, speeches, and awards. She retired in 2006 and left a legacy of judicial excellence and integrity.

Most Asked Questions and Answers

Q: When and where was Sandra Day O’Connor born?

A: Sandra Day O’Connor was born on March 26, 1930, in El Paso, Texas.

Q: What was Sandra Day O’Connor’s education and career before becoming a Supreme Court justice?

A: Sandra Day O’Connor graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a law degree. She worked as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California, a civilian attorney for the U.S. Army, a private practice lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona, an assistant attorney general of Arizona, a state senator, and a judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Q: Who nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court and when was she confirmed?

A: President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court on July 7, 1981. She was confirmed by the Senate on September 21, 1981, by a vote of 99-0.

Q: What was Sandra Day O’Connor’s judicial philosophy and style?

A: Sandra Day O’Connor was considered a moderate conservative who valued judicial restraint, federalism, and individual rights. She often cast the deciding vote in closely divided cases and wrote opinions that balanced competing interests and avoided sweeping rulings. She was known for her meticulous research, clear writing, and collegiality.

Q: What were some of the most important cases that Sandra Day O’Connor participated in or wrote opinions for?

A: Some of the most important cases that Sandra Day O’Connor participated in or wrote opinions for include:

Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), which upheld the use of affirmative action in law school admissions.

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004), which recognized the right of U.S. citizens detained as enemy combatants to challenge their detention.

Bush v. Gore (2000), which ended the Florida recount and effectively decided the 2000 presidential election.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which reaffirmed the core holding of Roe v. Wade that women have a constitutional right to abortion, but also allowed states to impose some restrictions.

Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan (1982), which struck down a state law that excluded men from a nursing school.

Craig v. Boren (1976), which established the intermediate scrutiny standard for gender discrimination cases.

Q: When and why did Sandra Day O’Connor retire from the Supreme Court?

A: Sandra Day O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court on January 31, 2006. She cited personal reasons, such as her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease and her desire to pursue other interests.

Q: What did Sandra Day O’Connor do after retiring from the Supreme Court?

A: After retiring from the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor continued to be active in public life. She served as a visiting judge in lower federal courts, taught law at various universities, wrote books and articles, gave speeches and interviews, participated in civic.

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