Rose Bird BACK

Chief Justice Bird's Experience

Pro   Con

From 1965 to 1966 Rose Bird served as clerk to the Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court. In 1966 Rose Bird joined the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office where, between 1966 and 1974, she held the positions of deputy public defender, senior trial deputy, and chief of the appellate division.1 In addition to arguing cases before California's Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, and in federal court,2 Rose Bird taught at Stanford University Law School from 1972 through 1974.3 From 1975 to 1977 Rose Bird headed California's Agriculture and Services Agency, where she was in charge of a $277,000,000 annual budget and 16,000 employees.4 Six of 15 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, including the highly regarded Earl Warren, never had any previous judicial experience.5


Rose Bird's qualifications for the job of Chief Justice were limited at best, and prior to her acceptance of the appointment she had no judicial experience.6

AMA Commentary

Chief Justice Bird is currently the second-most experienced justice on the California Supreme Court, with over nine years of service. Only Justice Stanley Mosk, with over 21 years on the court, has served longer than Chief Justice Bird. Justice Allen Broussard has served for five years, Justice Cruz Reynoso for four and one-half years, Justice Joseph Grodin for three and one-half years, Justice Malcolm Lucas for two and one-quarter years, and Justice Edward Panelli for six months.7

1 Who's Who in American Law, (Marquis' Who's Who Inc.: Chicago, IL), 1985, p. 45.
2 Olson, Lynne, "Rose Bird," Working Woman, October 1984, p. 117.
3 Who's Who in American Law, supra.
4 Olson, p. 117.
5 Framed, p. 117.
6 Republican Associates of Southern California, directed by Gene Wibert, Glendale, CA, campaign literature.
7 Bergholz, op. cit., p. 103, and The Sacramento Bee, "The Bird Court," by Claire Cooper, special section, April 6, 1986, p. 9.