“Sandra Day O’Connor: The First” documentary premieres on Arizona PBS
Sept. 13, 2021
A new documentary, titled “Sandra Day O’Connor: The First” will air on Arizona PBS. The film showcases the life of Arizona’s own Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor clerked for Justice O’Connor at the U.S. Supreme court. We spoke with Ruth McGregor about her long relationship with Justice O’Connor.
“I first met her when I went to work as a new lawyer at Fennemore-Craig…when she became a judge, of course we couldn’t practice in front of her because of the connection to the firm, so I didn’t get to know her professionally until she was appointed to the Supreme Court,” McGregor said.
McGregor then became O’Connor’s law clerk. In a way she knew there was history in the making, “looking back…we knew this was historic, we were aware of it, but yet none of us kept a journal and we took very few pictures…our minds were on our work.”
There was no stopping with their work, “we had a lot of work and had to get it done and Justice O’Connor does not like excuses for work not being done,” McGregor said.
McGregor said it was hard for O’Connor to ignore her celebrity. She said that it was difficult for her to walk down the street without getting noticed and without people asking her for a photo.
McGregor often tells the story of her and O’Connor in a grocery story during a break and having a woman come up and ask O’Connor for her autograph. The woman didn’t have anything for her to sign on so she picked up a cantaloupe and asked O’Connor to sign it.
“She is the most efficient, capable person I’ve ever been around…she is just a step above everyone else and she’s just very orderly in her approach, she doesn’t seem to get frazzled when there’s a lot to be done and she just moves ahead,” McGregor said.