Scott Bice with (clockwise from left)U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, California Justice Malcolm M. Lucas JD ’53 and Michigan Justice Conrad L. Mallett JD, MPA ’79.
Photo courtesy of USC Law School
By conservative estimates, more than 450 USC law graduates have held state and federal judgeships. Frederick W. Houser JD ’00 was the first alumnus to serve on the bench: he became a superior court judge in 1906. In 1924, Georgia Bullock JD ’14 became the first woman in Southern California to assume the bench. In 1940, Edwin Jefferson JD ’31, became the first black judge west of Chicago. Albert Armendariz JD ’50 and Arthur Alarcon JD ’51 were among the earliest Hispanic Trojans on the bench; and John Aiso, a Harvard-educated attorney who pursued advanced legal studies here in 1940, was the law school’s first Asian judge.
More than 60 years later, USC alumni would load the California Supreme Court. Never before or since has a majority of the high court’s justices graduated from a single law school. On the bench in 1987 were four Trojans: Chief Justice Malcolm M. Lucas JD ’53 and associate justices Marcus Kaufman JD ’56, Joyce Luther Kennard JD ’74 and David Eagleson JD ’50.
In 1998, many of the school’s 300-plus living alumni on the bench came together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the Los Angeles Law School (the USC Law School’s precursor). The event, including a symposium on judicial independence and accountability and featuring a talk by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, was Webcast live over the Internet and drew major newspaper headlines.