Therese M. Stewart poised to become the first out lesbian justice on the California Court of AppealAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, June 30th, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. has announced that he has appointed San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese M. Stewart to serve as a justice on the California Court of Appeal, on the First District Court’s Division Two. The appointment, made during San Francisco’s LGBT Pride weekend, marks an appropriately historic milestone for California’s judiciary as well as its LGBT community: Stewart will be the first openly lesbian justice to serve on the California Court of Appeal, if confirmed.
In response to the news, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement:
“Terry Stewart was my very first hire after I was elected City Attorney, and it has been an extraordinary honor to have someone with her intelligence, dedication and passionate commitment to justice serve as my chief deputy for more than a dozen years,” Herrera said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t concede a degree of personal disappointment in knowing that she won’t be standing by my side in the City Attorney’s Office anymore. But I am incredibly proud of Terry for all she has accomplished in her career, for her appointment to the California Court of Appeal today, and for shattering one more historic barrier as California’s first lesbian-identified appellate court justice. On a weekend in which San Francisco celebrates LGBT equality, Terry Stewart’s historic appointment is still more cause to celebrate—not just for the LGBT community, but for all Californians who’ll be so ably served by her remarkable gifts on the judiciary.”
Stewart, 57, of San Francisco, has served as chief deputy city attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office since 2002. She was a director at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk and Rabkin PC from 1988 to 2002, where she was an associate from 1982 to 1988. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch at the U.S. Court of Appeal, Eleventh Circuit from 1981 to 1982. Stewart argued on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco in the trilogy of cases advocating for marriage equality for LGBT Californians in the California Supreme Court. She also led the team of San Francisco deputy city attorneys intervening as plaintiffs in the federal case challenging Proposition 8. Stewart earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University.
Stewart fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice James R. Lambden. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. The commission consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Senior Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline. If confirmed, Stewart will be the first openly lesbian justice to serve on the California Court of Appeal, according to Gov. Brown’s June 28, 2014 news announcement at http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18587.
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office has seen a number of deputies and former deputies elevated to the bench in recent years. Other deputy city attorneys who went on to serve on the judiciary include S.F. Superior Court Judges Loretta M. Giorgi (appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2006); Anne-Christine Massullo(appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2006); and Monica F. Wiley (appointed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2009). In July, President Obama nominated Deputy City Attorney Vince Chhabria to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Chhabria was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 5, 2014, and was sworn in on March 25, 2014.
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