Joyce Kennard

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Joyce Kennard
Court Information:
California Supreme Court
Title:   Former justice
Appointed by:   Gov. George Deukmejian
Active:   1989-2014
Past post:   Judge, California Courts of Appeal
Past term:   1988-1989
Past post 2:   Judge, California Superior Courts
Past term 2:   1987-1988
Personal History
Born:   May 6, 1941
Undergraduate:   University of Southern California, 1971
Law School:   Gould School of Law, 1974
Grad. School:   University of Southern California, 1974

Joyce L. Kennard is a former associate justice on the seven-member California Supreme Court. She was appointed to the court in the state's Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection in April of 1989 by Governor George Deukmejian. Kennard was retained to additional twelve-year terms in November 1994 and November 2006. She is the first Asian-American, and only the second woman, to serve on the state's high court. Kennard retired from the court on April 5, 2014.[1][2]


Kennard was born during a turbulent time in West Java, Indonesia. Her father died in a prison camp when Kennard was only one year old and she and mother were forced to live in a camp. In 1951, she and her mother emigrated to what was then Dutch New Guinea, and when Kennard was 14, they moved to Holland. As a teenager, Kennard's leg was amputated, and she now walks with aid of a prosthesis.[3][4]

Justice Kennard underwent surgery in 2010 to remove a benign stomach growth. The surgery sidelined Kennard from May through June, yet she participated in rulings during this time by watching video recordings of court proceedings.[5][6]


Kennard earned her undergraduate degree with Honors Extraordinary from the University of Southern California in 1971. She earned a Masters degree magna cum laude in Public Administration and her Juris Doctor from Gould School of Law, University of Southern California.[1]


Awards and associations


  • Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Southern California Asian Pacific Alumni Association, 2010
  • Emil Gumpert ADR Judicial Services Award, Dispute Resolution Services, Inc., 2008
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Queen's Bench, 2007
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Japanese American Bar Association of Greater Los Angeles, 2006
  • Alumni Merit Award, University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development, 2006
  • Award, San Mateo County Chapter of Organization of Chinese Americans, 2005
  • Judicial Council Award, Judicial Council of California, 2004
  • Justice Rose Bird Memorial Award, California Women Lawyers, 2001
  • Public Service Award, Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 2001
  • Legal Impact Award, Asian Law Alliance, 2000
  • Award, Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California, 1997
  • Award, San Francisco Women Lawyers Alliance, 1997
  • Award, Council of Asian Pacific Islanders Together for Active Leadership (C.A.P.I.T.A.L.), 1997
  • Award, Marin Women's Hall of Fame, 1997
  • Spirit of Excellence Award, American Bar Association's Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession, 1996
  • St. Thomas More Medallion Award, St. Thomas More Law Honor Society, 1995
  • Trailblazer Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, 1994
  • Founders' Award, National Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (NAPALSA), 1994
  • Access Award, Los Angeles County Commission on Disabilities, 1994
  • Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, American Bar Association, 1993
  • Award, ABA Task Force on Opportunities for Minorities, Judicial Administration Division and Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession, 1992
  • Netherlands-American Heritage Award, Netherlands-American Arts and Cultural Foundation, 1992
  • "Chinese-American Pioneers from Southern California in the Judiciary" Award, Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, 1992
  • "Women of the 90's" Award, Robinson's Department Store, 1992
  • Justice of the Year Award, California Trial Lawyers Association, 1991
  • Justice of the Year, California Trial Lawyers Association, 1991
  • Award, Asian/Pacific Women's Network, 1991
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Community College League of California, 1991
  • Award, YWCA Los Angeles, 1991
  • Award, Governor's Hall of Fame for People With Disabilities, 1990
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Independent Living Center of Southern California, l990
  • Award for Contributing to the Progress of Dignity and Self-Esteem Among Amputees, Sacramento Women Amputees Group's, 1990
  • Alumni Merit Award, University of Southern California, l990
  • Award, San Fernando Valley Bar, 1990
  • Ernestine Stahlhut Award, Women Lawyers' Association of Los Angeles, l990
  • American Jurisprudence Award in Torts, University of Southern California, 1974
  • Pfiffner Award for the Outstanding Thesis of the Academic Year, University of Southern California, 1974 [1]


  • Member, Alpha Mu Gamma
  • Member, Alpha Gamma Sigma
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa sorority
  • Member, Phi Kappa Phi sorority
  • Chair, Judicial Council of California, Appellate Advisory Committee, 1996-2005 [1]



California Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2006 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Joyce Kennard Green check mark transparent.png 4,395,470 74.6%
Against retention 1,501,183 25.4%

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Kennard received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of 0.34, indicating a conservative ideological leaning. This is more conservative than the average CF score of -0.32 that justices received in California. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[7]

See also

External links