New Sandra Day O’Connor Award will honor a judge for outstanding contributions to justice – first honoree is Justice O’Connor herself

RENO, NV (November 10, 2021) – The National Judicial College, the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely attended school for judges, has established the Sandra Day O’Connor Award to honor an outstanding judge for contributions to justice.

The formal announcement of the establishment of the award and of the naming of its inaugural honoree, Justice O’Connor herself, will be take place later this week at a national judicial conference. (The date and location of the conference is intentionally omitted because of security concerns surrounding large gatherings of judges).

Justice O’Connor is an alumna of The National Judicial College who enrolled in the College’s flagship course for new judges, General Jurisdiction, shortly after her election to the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1974. Seven years later, in 1981, President Reagan nominated her to become the first female member of the U.S. Supreme Court. She took office the same year. She retired in 2006.

In 2018, Justice O’Connor announced her retirement from public life after disclosing that she had been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s-like dementia. A recorded message from her eldest son, Scott O’Connor, is expected to be played at the award ceremony. Arizona Supreme Court Vice Chief Ann A. Scott Timmer will accept the award on Justice O’Connor’s behalf.

Expected to be presented annually, the Sandra Day O’Connor Award recognizes a judge or former judge who has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to justice as embodied in The National Judicial College’s core values of justice, excellence, innovation, integrity and leadership. It is the College’s highest honor. 

In her more than 24 years on the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor established a reputation as a pragmatist rather than someone bound by ideology. She was seen as a swing vote on many major cases, including those involving reproductive rights, legislative districting and separation of church and state.

Nominations for the 2022 Sandra Day O’Connor Award will be taken in January.  

Contact
Ed Cohen
Director of Communications/Marketing
egcohen@judges.org
(775) 327-8285 – office
(574)-386-8915 – cell

# # #

Created more than a half-century ago at the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, The National Judicial College remains the only educational institution in the United States that teaches courtroom skills to judges of all types from all over the country, Indian Country and abroad. The categories of judges served by this nonprofit and nonpartisan institution, based in Reno, Nevada, since 1964, decide more than 95 percent of cases in the United States.

NJC News
Washington DC Supreme Court facade equal justice under the law
Almost all judges believe Supreme Court justices should be subject to an ethics code

It’s safe to say that judges think their brethren and sistren on the U.S. Supreme Court should be bound b...

Remembering Lee Sinclair

Photo courtesy of The Repository Lee Sinclair recalled that as a child he loved to visit the Stark Count...

Remembering Dean Larry Hyde

Judge Laurance M. “Larry” Hyde, the dean who established The National Judicial College on the campu...

Interior of cell block in abandoned State Correctional Institution, or jail., common room with jail cells.
Poll suggests that judges know what life is like in their jails and prisons

Judges who send people to jail or prison usually have at least some idea of the conditions in the facilitie...

Judicial Heroes and Legends: May 2022 - Hon. Constance Baker Motley

When Ketanji Brown Jackson was nominated to become the first Black woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Co...

View All News

Download a PDF of our complete 2022 course catalog

Download