Women Justices/Judges of the Pennsylvania Appellate Courts
In recognition of Women’s History Month, WIP recognizes women justices/judges who sat and who are sitting on Pennsylvania appellate courts. A special thanks to Dr. Joel Fishman who compiled this list and gave permission to use his work. See the full list here. One female jurist will be featured each week during March and one per month after that. Read on to learn more about our current featured jurist:
JUANITA KIDD STOUT
Gov. Bob Casey Sr. appointed Juanita Kidd Stout as the first African American and second woman as an associate justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Jan. 15, 1988, and she was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 8, 1988, serving from March 3, 1988, until March 7, 1989, mandatory retirement age at 70 years old. She was the first African American woman to serve on any state appellate court in the country.
Stout (March 7, 1919–Aug. 21, 1998) graduated from Iowa State University, B.A. (1939) and from University of Indiana School of Law, LL.B. (1948) and LL.M. (1954). She was administrative assistant, Judge Hastie, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1950); private practice (1950-55); and assistant district attorney, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (1955-59). Gov. David L. Lawrence appointed her as a judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court in September 1959, and she won a full-term election in November 1959 as the first African American woman appointed or elected judge of a court of record. In November 1969, she was elected as judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and retained in November 1979, serving from January 1970 to January 1988. Following her Supreme Court appointment, she returned as a senior judge, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (1989-1998). During President John F. Kennedy's administration, she was a special ambassador to the Kenya Independence Celebration and served on the White House Conference on Children and Youth. Among her honors and awards are 11 honorary doctorate degrees; Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year, National Association of Women Lawyers (1965); Distinguished Service Award, University of Iowa (1974); Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award, Oklahoma State University (1980); inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1981) and Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame (1983); Indiana University’s Academy of Law Alumni Fellows (1986); Justice of the Year Award, National Association of Women Judges (1988); Sandra Day O’Connor Award, Philadelphia Bar Association (1994); Legend of the Bar, Philadelphia Bar Association (2002); and tuition scholarship granted in her honor and memory, NBA Women Lawyers Division, Philadelphia Chapter (2008). The Philadelphia criminal courthouse was renamed the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice (May 2012).