Bird, Rose Elizabeth
1936 - 1999

Born: 11/2/1936 in Tuscon, Arizona
Died: 12/6/1999
Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
Professional Facts

Practice Area:
Civil Rights
Consumer Protection
Criminal Law
General Practice
Labor Law
Criminal Law
Labor Law
Consumer Protection Law
Death Penalty cases
Constitutional Law
Regions and States of Practice:
CA, West
NV, West
Legal Education:
UC Berkeley School of Law - Boalt Hall, 1965
Other Education:
Long Island University
Positions During Her Career:
Law clerk on the Nevada Supreme Court
Deputy public defender and later chief of the appellate division in Santa Clara County (1966)
Taught a seminar in criminal defense at Stanford Law School
Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown as California's Secretary of Agriculture (1975)
Appointed Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court (1977)
Female law clerk on the Nevada Supreme Court (1965)
Female deputy public defender in Santa Clara County (1966)
Woman to teach at Stanford law school (1966)
Woman to hold a cabinet level position in the state of California (1975)
Woman appointed to the court (1977)

Further Research Materials

Susan Ware (Editor) and Stacy Braukman, Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing The Twentieth Century. The Bellknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2004.
In Memoriam: Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird (1936 - 1999)
In Memoriam: Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird (1936 - 1999), 22 (4) Official California Reports 1302 (March 6, 2000)
Meredith May, Rose Bird Tribute Honors Ex-Justice as Humanitarian, San Francisco Chronicle, January 17, 2000, at A15
Henry Weinstein, Mourners Remember Rose Bird, L.A. Times, Jan. !0, 2000, at A3
Bob Egelko, Rose Bird selection, ouster changed state, The Oakland Tribune, December 6, 1999
Rose Bird, 63, ex-chief justice, dies of cancer, Associated Press, December 5, 1999
Larry D. Hatfield, Ex-Chief Justice Rose Bird Dies, The San Francisco Examiner, December 5, 1999
Peter H. King, Rose Bird was a person, The Tribunal, December 9, 1999
Legacy of Rose Bird survives in decisions on abortion, bias, The Oakland Tribune, December 9, 1999
Debra J. Saunders, Rose Bird was courageous- And Wrong, The Oakland Tribune, December 7, 1999
Linda Robertson, Paving the Way for Other Women in Law, The Oakland Tribunal, December 7, 1999
Harriet Chiang and Joan Ryan, Bird's Passion for Principles Recalled, S.F. Chronicle, December 6, 1999, at A1
Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird Dies; Supreme Court to Hold Memorial Session
Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird Dies; Supreme Court to Hold Memorial Session, Judicial Council of California News Release 78 (December 6, 1999), available at:
Larry D. Harfield & Anastasia Hendrix, Rose Bird Recalled as Brilliant Legal Trailbrazer, San Francisco Examiner, December 6, 1999, at A1
Fighter for the Disenfranchised, S.F. Chron., Dec. 7, 1999, at A26
Rose Bird, Once California's Chief Justice, Is Dead at 63
Todd S. Purdum, Rose Bird, Once California's Chief Justice, Is Dead at 63, New York Times, December 6, 1999, at B18, available at:
Maura Dolan, Ex-Chief Justice, Opposed to Death Penalty, Ousted by Voters in '86, L.A. Times, Dec. 6, 1999, at A11
Mike Weiss, Goodbye to a Rose that Thrived in Every Climate, S.F. Chron., Dec. 6, 1999, at A2
Pat Morrison, Bird's Legacy Is a Warning to Jurists, L.A. Times, Dec. 6, 1999, at A3
Dawn Bradley Berry, The 50 Most Influential Women in American Law. Los Angeles: Contemporary Books (1996).
N.O. Stockmeyer Jr., Hail to the Chiefs: A Tribute to America's Women Chief Justices, Benchmark: Thomas M. Cooley Law School Magazine, Vol. XVII No. 1, Hilary Term 1995, pp.6-7
Joel Sappell, Death Penalty Controversy Trails Bird, L.A. Times, May 14, 1990, at A1
Diane Johnson, Iconoclast with Class, Lear's, May/June 1988, at 80
Stephen G. Bloom, Jury's Still out on Bird as Commentator, Sacramento Bee, Apr. 16, 1988, at A1
Joan Walsh, Rose Bird: In Praise of a First Class Act, Los Angeles Weekly, May/June 1986, at 20
Ellen Goodman, Behind Bird-Bashing: The Chief Justice Has Modified Neither Opinions Nor Style, S.J. Mercury News, June 27, 1986
Claire Cooper, New Drive Targets Appellate Court Justices, Sacramento Bee, July 23, 1986, at B6
Frank Clifford, Bird's Critics Take Aim at 2 Others: Reynoso, Grodin Targeted as Chief Justice Slips in Polls, L.A. Times, June 15, 1986, at 1.
Lorie Hearn, Mosk No Longer Target of Anti-Bird Group, San Diego Union, July 26, 1986
Laura Mecoy, Governor Steps up Attack on Chief Justice, Sacramento Recorder, June 10, 1986, at 2.
Charles Roberts, Reagan Pushes Liability Reform, Raps Bird, Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 2, 1986
Pat Keeble, Petris: Business, Industry Behind Campaign Against Bird, Contra Costa Times, June 23, 1986, at A1
Howard Rosenberg, Kopple Earns Stripes Riding a Techno-Tiger, L.A. Times, June 6, 1986, at 1
Richard Stengel, Of Tall Winners, Big Loser, Frogs, and a Bird, Time, Nov. 7, 1986, at 53
Deukmejian Picks Ex-Law Partner to Be Chief Justice, Wash. Post, Nov. 27, 1986, at A13
Eric Levin, The New Look in Old Maids; A Study Says that Single-Minded Women May End up Staying that Way, to Which Some Luminous Ladies Respond, "So, What?," People, March 31, 1986, at 28
Wallace Turner, Critics Try to Clip Wings of California's Justice Bird, Chi. Trib., Mar. 29, 1985, at C1
Daniel M. Weintraub, Board to "Invite" Duffy to Meet; Lawsuit over Post Cards for Chief Justice at Issue, L.A. Times, Feb. 21, 1985, at 1
Tom Greeley, Use of Deputies Called Illegal; ACLU Sues Duffy on Drive to Oust Justice Bird, Los Angeles Times, February 20, 1985, at 1
Bird Employs Consultant for '86 Election, L.A. Times, Feb. 27, 1985, at 15
John Balzar, Second Key Aide Quietly Leaves Bird Campaign, Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1985, at 3
Betty Medsger, Framed: The New Right Attack on Chief Justice Rose Bird and the Courts. New York: Pilgrim Press (1983)
Preble Stolz, Judging Judges: The Investigation of Rose Bird and the California Supreme Court. New York: Free Press (1981)
Bob Schmidt, Looking Ahead with Rose Bird, San Jose Mercury News, Mar. 20, 1977
The Governor's Choices for Supreme Court, Redwood City Tribune, February 16, 1977, at 16
Bill Bancroft, Manuel Wins OK to Court, Oakland Tribune, Mar. 8, 1977, at 1
Dale Rodebaugh, Ex-Justice Clark: A Judge Need Not Have Experience, San Jose Mercury News, Mar. 12, 1977
Criticism Ripples over Rose Bird, San Hose Mercury News, Feb. 14, 1977
Bill Bancroft, Rose Bird Confirmed State Chief Justice, Oakland Tribune, March 12, 1977
Younger Swings to Bird for High Court, San Mateo Times, March 12, 1977, at 1
Rose Bird Hit in Bishop's Letter, Redwood City Tribune, March 3, 1977, at 21
George Newman, Bird Appointment Meddling Charged: Bar Aides Accuse Governor, S.J. Mercury News, Mar. 8, 1977
Joe Scott, Bird Nomination, Oakland Trib., Mar. 6, 1977, at 42
Panel Meets Today: Bird Agrees to Answer Queries, L.A. Times, Mar. 7, 1977, at 1.
George Newman, Former Boss Opens Rose Bird's Personnel File, S.J. Mercury News, Mar. 19, 1977, at 2
Gale Cook, "Fraud" Issue Raised at Bird Hearing, S.F. Examiner, Mar. 11, 1977, at 2.
Justice Flubs her Lines, San Mateo Times, Mar. 28, 1977, at 8
Elizabeth Pollock, Bird Changes Policy on Assignemnt of Judges, L.A. Daily J., May 2, 1977, at 1
Girls in Law, Mademoiselle, May 1965, at 90


Student Papers:
Potential Paper Topics:
An analysis of Bird's role in the creation of the CA Agriculture Labor Relations Board.
An examination of Bird's death penalty cases.
An examination of the cases that Bird, as a public defender, argued before the CA Supreme Court.
An examination of the seven attempts to have Bird removed from the CA Supreme Court (note that this topic is already covered by a pre-existing paper).
An analysis of the lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Sheriff Duffy for using on-duty deputies to distribute campaign paraphernalia to have Bird removed from the CA Supreme Court.
An analysis of People v. Caudillo, in which Bird, for the Court, found that rape did not constitute great bodily injury for purposes of a statute requiring increased sentences for felonies that involved great bodily injury.
An analysis of Bird's dissent in upholding Proposition 13, which dealt with property taxes, placing a 1 percent ceiling on the tax rate and rolling back assessment values to 1975 levels or the value on the date of acquisition for property acquired after 1975.
An analysis of Bird's support for school busing for desegregating the Los Angeles County School District.
An analysis of People v. Tanner, which overturned a 1975 law that required prison terms for persons who used a gun during a violent crime.