Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Award Nominations

In 2021, The National Judicial College established the annual Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Award to recognize a judge or former judge who has shown extraordinary service and commitment to the cause of justice.

The inaugural award was presented to its namesake, Sandra Day O’Connor. Justice O’Connor was a trailblazer as the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court (subsequent to her service as a state trial and appellate judge) and is known for her excellence as a jurist. She is also a distinguished alumna of the NJC.


Award Process

  • Nominations will be accepted until May 15, 2024.
  • A committee created by the NJC will review the nominations and select the award recipient. The nominee must be willing to attend the award ceremony in person, although extenuating circumstances, such as serious illness, will be considered on an individual basis.
  • The NJC reserves the right not to present the award in a given year.
  • Nominees need not be alumni of the NJC.

Selection Criteria

Eligibility is open to any living judge or former judge who has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to justice and manifested the NJC’s Core Values:

  • Demonstrate an Absolute Commitment to Justice
  • Deliver and Inspire Excellence and Innovation in One’s Work
  • Champion Integrity
  • Practice Engaged Leadership

Submission Requirements

Nominations must be submitted through the form below and include:

  • The name of the nominee and their contact information
  • The name of the person or organization making the nomination
  • Resume or CV of the nominee
  • A thoughtful, detailed letter describing the nominee’s extraordinary service and commitment to justice and providing examples.
  • A minimum of three and maximum of five letters of support

Nomination Submission Form
Award Committee

  • Chair, Trustee Angelina Tsu
  • NJC Staff Representative, President Benes Aldana
  • Board of Visitor Representative: Justice Bobbe Bridge (ret.)
  • Alumni Relations Committee Representative: Judge Mary Chicchelly
  • Ivan Fong, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Medtronic (former clerk to Justice O’Connor)
  • Faculty Council Representative: Judge Ilona Holmes (ret.)
  • Prof. Deborah Merritt, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University (former clerk to Justice O’Connor)