California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger has emerged as one of the contenders for a nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court following Justice Stephen Breyer’s announcement that he plans to retire from his post on the nation’s highest court.
Kruger currently serves as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court. If she’s nominated and confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, Kruger will be the third Black justice and the sixth woman to serve on the court in its history.
Here are five things to know about Kruger:
Kruger was born in the Los Angeles area
She attended high school in Pasadena before going on to Harvard University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors. While at the school, she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
She went on to earn her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. During her time at the university, she served as editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, making her the first Black woman to serve in that role, according to SCOTUSBlog.
Kruger clerked for federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court
After graduating from Yale, Kruger served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Kruger also has experience in private practice and specialized in appellate and Supreme Court litigation, according to a court biography. She previously taught as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
Kruger has argued cases on behalf of the government before the Supreme Court
From 2007 to 2013, Kruger served as an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general – the Justice Department official who represents the government in front of the Supreme Court -- and then as acting principal deputy solicitor general. During her tenure, she argued a dozen cases before the nation’s highest court.
Kruger has served on the California Supreme Court since 2015
Kruger was 38 years old in 2015, when she was sworn in as the youngest California Supreme Court justice in modern history, according to The Los Angeles Times. She was the fourth Black person and seventh woman to serve on the court, and in 2016, became the first California Supreme Court justice to give birth while in office, the newspaper reported.
Kruger’s decisions on the court have with liberal viewpoints at times and with conservative ones at other times, according to SCOTUSBlog.
“My approach reflects the fact that we operate in a system of precedent,” Kruger told the Times in 2018. “I aim to perform my job in a way that enhances the predictability and stability of the law and public confidence and trust in the work of the courts.”
Kruger is a mother to two
Kruger has two young children and is married to attorney Brian Hauck, according to the Bay Area News Group. Hauck is a San Francisco-based partner at the law firm Jenner & Block.
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