HONORING THE SERVICE OF JUSTICE KATHRYN WERDEGAR
(Extensions of Remarks - July 17, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 120 (Monday, July 17, 2017)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E999]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




            HONORING THE SERVICE OF JUSTICE KATHRYN WERDEGAR

                                 ______
                                 

                           HON. JARED HUFFMAN

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, July 17, 2017

  Mr. HUFFMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of California 
Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Werdegar on her retirement after 23 years 
of exceptional stewardship on the court and 55 years of public service.
   A resident of Marin County, Justice Werdegar received her Bachelor's 
degree with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, 
whereupon she began her subsequent legal studies and became the first 
woman to be elected editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. She 
completed her law degree at the George Washington University School of 
Law, where she graduated as the valedictorian of her class.
   Upon graduating from law school, Justice Werdegar went to work as an 
attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of 
Justice in 1962. She showed clear determination and initiative, working 
directly with Attorney General Robert Kennedy and writing the amicus 
brief that pressed for the release from jail of Martin Luther King, Jr.
   After moving back to California in 1963, Justice Werdegar took on a 
number of academic and legal challenges before going to work as a 
research attorney for the State Court of Appeal in 1981. Showing a 
voracious work ethic and attention to detail, she went on to become a 
senior staff attorney for the California Supreme Court only four years 
later.
   Justice Werdegar's career as a judge began in 1991, when Governor 
Wilson appointed her to the State Court of Appeal, only ten years after 
becoming a staff member for that body. Shortly thereafter, in 1994, 
Justice Werdegar was appointed by the Governor to the California 
Supreme Court where she has been ever since.
   During her tenure on the California Supreme Court, Justice Werdegar 
strove to understand the real world impacts of each case brought before 
her. In doing so, she went beyond politics and ideology to prioritize 
the rights of people in both her majority and dissenting opinions. Some 
notable examples of this include her majority opinion that greatly 
softened California's three strikes law, her 2008 ruling that bans on 
same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, and her single dissenting 
opinion that gun manufacturers have a responsibility for the weapons 
they sell to the public. Because of her clear dedication to the law and 
rigorous approach to each case, Justice Werdegar is well regarded by 
her colleagues on and off of the bench.
   Mr. Speaker, please join me in expressing deep appreciation for 
Justice Werdegar's extraordinary service to the legal profession and 
the public at large by extending to her best wishes on her retirement.

                          ____________________