Texas is a state in the South and Southwest regions of the United States of America. With an area of 268,581 square miles (695,622 km²) and a population of 22.8 million, Texas is the second-largest U.S. state in both area and population, and the largest state in the contiguous 48 states in area. The state name derives from a word in a Caddoan language of the Hasinai, táyshaʔ, tecas (or tejas, as the Spaniards spelled it), meaning "those who are friends", "friends", or "allies"".
Texas joined the United States in 1845 as the 28th state, after nearly a decade of being the Republic of Texas—an independent country. Texas historically had a "larger than life" reputation, especially in cowboy films. The term "Texas-sized" is used to describe something larger than average, and large geographic areas are often described in terms of the size of Texas. It is the southernmost part of the Great Plains, which ends in the south against the folded Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico. It is in the south-central part of the United States of America. It is considered to form part of the U.S. South and also part of the U.S. Southwest.
In 2011, Texas had a gross state product of $1.3 trillion, the second-highest in the U.S. after California. Texas is the only state in the U.S. to have three cities with populations exceeding one million: Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, which are also among the 10 largest cities of the United States. They are larger than any other cities in the Southern United States. Austin, El Paso, and Fort Worth are in the top 25 largest U.S. cities.
Tropical Storm Allison was a tropical storm that devastated southeast Texas in June of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. The first storm of the season, the storm developed from a tropical wave in the northern Gulf of Mexico on June 4, 2001, and struck the northern Texas coast shortly thereafter. It drifted northward through the state, turned back to the south, and re-entered the Gulf of Mexico. The storm continued to the east-northeast, made landfall on Louisiana, then moved across the southeast United States and Mid-Atlantic. Allison was the first storm since Tropical Storm Frances in 1998 to strike the northern Texas coastline. The storm dropped heavy rainfall along its path, peaking at over 40 inches (1,000 mm) in Texas. The worst flooding occurred in Houston, where most of Allison's damage occurred: 30,000 became homeless after the flooding destroyed 2,744 homes. Downtown Houston was inundated with flooding, causing severe damage to hospitals and businesses. Twenty-three people died in Texas.
Sandra Day O'Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist and former politician who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. In 2004, Forbes magazine called her the fourth most powerful woman in the United States and the sixth most powerful in the world.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court, she was a politician and jurist in Arizona. She was nominated to the Court by President Ronald Reagan and served for over twenty-four years. On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of her successor. Justice Samuel Alito, nominated to take her seat in October 2005, received confirmation on January 31, 2006.