Kathryn Doi Todd

(b. 1942) The first Asian American woman judge

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Justice Kathryn Doi Todd was born on January 14, 1942, one month before President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, after which she and her family were interned at the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming and the Tule Lake concentration camp in northern California.

After World War II, her family returned to Los Angeles, where she grew up. Todd graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1959, and she went on to Stanford University, where she received a degree in history in 1963. She eventually went on to Loyola Law School, where she received her law degree in 1970.

Todd's legal career began when she opened up her own civil practice in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, at a time when there were only three Japanese American women lawyers working in Los Angeles. In the mid-1970s, Todd and several other Japanese American jurists came together to found the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA), whose primary objective at its inception was to increase Japanese American representation on the bench.

In 1978, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Todd to the Los Angeles County Municipal Court bench, giving her the distinction of being the first Asian American woman judge. Three years later, in 1981, Brown elevated her to the Los Angeles County Superior Court bench. In 2000, Governor Gray Davis appointed Todd to the California Second District Court of Appeal, Division Two, where she currently serves as an Associate Justice. (July 2012)

*This is one of the main projects completed by The Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) Program intern each summer, which the Japanese American Bar Association and the Japanese American National Museum have co-hosted.

camp heart mountain identity incarceration santa anita tule lake World War II cultural heritage cultural identity study abroad education law John F. Kennedy Robert Iwasaki community little tokyo female lawyers JABA minority judgeship Superior Court family Mia Doi Todd JACCC Appellate Court california

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