SAN FRANCISCO — When she steps down from the California Supreme Court on April 5, Justice Joyce Kennard will leave behind a legacy defined in large part by absence: the absence of ideology. The inability to predict how she would vote. Dissents that sometimes persuaded the Legislature, the Ninth Circuit or even the U.S. Supreme Court to erase the court’s decision.
But the 72-year-old justice will undoubtedly also be remembered for her presence. She blazed a trail for women, Asian-Americans and disabled persons for 25 years at the court, the sixth-longest tenure in its history. Along the way Kennard earned a reputation for hard work and precision, from preparing for oral argument to leading a six-year-long project to overhaul California’s appellate rules.
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