Watercolor, gouache and graphite pencil on paperboard
Board: 30.5 x 20.3 x 0.3cm (12 x 8 x 1/8")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
Frame: 57.2 x 43.8 x 3.2cm (22 1/2 x 17 1/4 x 1 1/4")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan fulfilled a campaign promise to appoint the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court by nominating Arizona lawyer and judge Sandra Day O'Connor to a seat on the bench. After announcing the nomination, Reagan wrote in his diary, "Already the flak is starting and from my own supporters. . . . I think that she'll make a good justice." O'Connor served from 1981 to her retirement in 2006 and left a reputation as a conscientious associate justice, one inclined toward narrowly based judgments rendered on a case-by-case basis, thereby avoiding setting sweeping precedents. A lifelong Republican, O'Connor came to the court after a career in the law and politics in both Arizona and California, where she had attended Stanford University. Her career, and her appointment to the Court, signaled the growing political importance of the Sun Belt after World War II.
This likeness ran on the cover of Time shortly after Reagan announced O'Connor's Supreme Court nomination.