Criteria Match: President Clinton appointed Judge Wardlaw to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in 1996, and elevated her to the Ninth Circuit in 1998. She was born in 1954, making her 56.
Bonus Criteria Match: Judge Wardlaw is Latina, the first appointed to a federal circuit court. (You can’t always tell ethnicity by last names. I’m Latino, too. My dad’s last name was Gonzalez before it was Scott. In Judge Wardlaw’s case, her father was Scotch-Irish and her mother was Mexican-American.)
Double Bonus: This isn’t her first high-court short list.
Credentials: Judge Wardlaw graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA and went on to UCLA School of Law, serving on law review and finishing fifth in her class. She graduated Order of the Coif and clerked for U.S. District Judge William P. Gray. She joined O’Melveny & Myers as a litigator, making partner.
Her husband, Bill Wardlaw, is “[c]onsidered a powerhouse in Los Angeles city politics [who] has chaired numerous Democratic campaigns.” Judge Wardlaw has worked on political campaigns for Mayor Riordan, Senator Feinstein, President Clinton – and the gubernatorial campaign of Kathleen Brown.
Her awards include:
- "1993 Top 25 Lawyers Under 45” by California Law Business"
- "1995 100 Most Prominent Business Attorneys in Los Angeles County” by Los Angeles Business Journal
- “1995 Buddy Award” by National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund
- "2000 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters" by Mount St. Mary's College
- “2001 Professional Achievement Award” by Mexican American Bar Foundation
- “2004 Alumni of the Year Award for Public and Community Service” by UCLA Law School
- “2005 Maynard Toll Award for Distinguished Public Service” by Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation
- "2008 Judicial Award" by Hispanic National Bar Foundation
- “2009 Ernestine Stahlhut Award" by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
- "2010 La Raza Alumna of the Year Award" by UCLA La Raza Law Students Association
- "2010 Women of Excellence Award" by the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley